Its vague symptoms can be misdiagnosed with conditions like IBS, Abdominal Pain, Asthma, or Menopause.
Sandy, a 74-year-old was diagnosed with grade two, stage four neuroendocrine cancer in 2022.
“My mum is an inspiration in literal terms. She’s constantly pushed boundaries that she’s found herself up against through her entire life.”
Sandy’s symptoms, including acute abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, and sweating, prompted quick medical attention. Despite normal test results, a gastroenterologist’s determination led to the discovery of the unsettling truth through imaging. Sandy recalls the life-altering moment, stating,
“Being told that you have an incurable cancer is a big moment to process and then integrate into how you approach and manage your life. Basically from that point on, well… how do I live with that?”
The emotional toll on Sandy’s family is evident, with her son, Jake expressing the difficulty of witnessing Sandy’s vulnerability and the uncertainty of the future.
“There’s a real torture to having that sort of dam hanging over you for such a long time.”
Amid the shock of a diagnosis, Sandy and her family found support in Neuroendocrine Cancer Australia (NECA). Describing NECA as “an organization that punches well above its weight,” Sandy highlights the commitment and advocacy of the individuals at NECA.
“There is a value and an incredible worth and wealth of information that can provide support. So yeah, NECA has been phenomenal.”
Jake concludes with gratitude for his mother’s guidance through life and since her diagnosis, stating,
“This is difficult. This is hard. None of us have had to do this before. Go and show us how to get it done, mum. Go show us how to do this well, and she has, she really has. She’s mapping onto all of us an appropriate way to live life in the midst of a very, very difficult place. And it’s something I’m really grateful for.”
Sandy’s journey stands as a testament to courage, family unity, and the transformative role of organisations like NECA in providing crucial support for those facing neuroendocrine cancer.
Do you, or does someone you know have these symptoms?
The skin on your face and upper chest feels hot and changes colour
Asthma-like signs and symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath
A racing heartbeat (palpitations), sometimes combined with dizziness
Your bowel motions are regularly urgent, watery, and frequent with no known cause
Overwhelming exhaustion that cannot be overcome with a good night's rest
A red rash with swelling and blisters that often travels from place to place on the skin