As an experienced doctor, John Nathan realised exactly how serious it was when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
The former Otley GP knew that just four per cent of people survive the condition by more than five years – with only between ten and 15 per cent getting to two years.
Dr Nathan, who was diagnosed in 2012, looks like being one of the lucky ones as he is now doing well following surgery and chemotherapy and not receiving any major treatment.
Determined to make good use of his health, the 66-year-old will take part in the BUPA 10k in London on Sunday, May 25, to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK and Pancreatic Cancer Action – and has already collected nearly £2,000 towards his £5,000 target.
Dr Nathan, who worked at Chevin Medical Practice for 27 years until 2004, said: “I am taking advantage of my fortune to promote pancreatic cancer charities, in particular Pancreatic Cancer UK and Pancreatic Cancer Action.
“I managed the Leeds 10k last summer and intend doing the BUPA 10k in London this month.
“All monies raised will go to these two charities to promote research, improve early diagnosis and also to help sufferers and their families in a practical way.
“The survival rates for this condition have not changed significantly for about 40 years, unlike most of the other cancers.
“Pancreatic cancer only receives about one per cent of cancer research funds, but causes about five per cent of cancer deaths. The UK lags behind most of Europe and the world in its survival rates, hence the need for a massive increase in money for research.”
He is preparing for the 10k by holding regular power walks around the lakes at Roundhay Park and drinking freshly-prepared vegetable and fruit juice concoctions every morning.
Dr Nathan is also helping professionally as a lay member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Pancreatic Cancer UK, by helping the charity select which research projects to fund.
And he is working with another survivor and specialist nurses from St James’s University Hospital, in Leeds, to set up a local support group for those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
He said: “People with this condition, and their carers, need a tremendous amount of help and support as the vast majority do not even have surgery, as the condition presents itself too late. Surgery is currently the only chance one gets of surviving this illness.
“We will be holding our first meeting on July 2 and hope to establish this group as a really important part of the support network for these patients and their carers.”
To support Dr Nathan’s fundraising and find out more, visit justgiving.com/john-nathan1. Donations can also be made at pancreaticcancer.org.uk or pancreaticcanceraction.org.