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Olivia Williams, 53, perhaps best known for her roles in The Sixth Sense, Anna Karenina, and more recently as Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown, was interrupted by an abrupt email on set for a film. The email, which would move her to tears, diagnosed her with pancreatic cancer – the killer of 26 people every day. On the one hand, it ended four years of confusion and a misdiagnosis but on the other would mark the beginning of her invasive treatment.
Talking to ITV’s Lorraine about the red flushing, she said: “Everyone told me for four years I was peri-menopausal,” she said. “Which I wasn’t at the time, although I am now.”
“After that [failed test], I remember sitting in the Counterpart make-up chair and saying, ‘Well, I don’t know what this is but it’s not cancer.’ How wrong I was!” she told the MailOnline.
It turned out the weight loss, which became so bad she could no longer draw blood for testing, was down to pancreas damage. It had become so bad that her body could no longer digest food.
This type of cancer often releases excess hormones into the bloodstream, which can explain the different symptoms Williams was experiencing. The pancreas is an important gland in the digestive system responsible for creating substances used as part of digestion.
According to Pancreatic Cancer UK, who Williams is now an ambassador for, she specifically had a rare form of pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer called VIP, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide carcinoma.
According to the NHS, the other symptoms of a pancreatic cancer that may occur include jaundice – yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, and a high temperature.
On ITV’s Lorraine, Olivia Williams urged those over the age of 40 to talk to a doctor if they’re experiencing “unusual bowel movements over a long period of time”.
source: Daily Express