Julie Walters on Harry Potter ending in 2015
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Brought up on a council estate in Acton, West London, Alan Rickman didn’t step foot into the theatre world until he received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) at the age of 26. Henceforth, Alan – who died at the age of 69 – will be remembered by many as Professor Snape from the Harry Potter film series. Yet, four years on from the final instalment of the Harry Potter films, Alan received a terminal diagnosis.
In August 2015, following a minor stroke, Alan was told he had pancreatic cancer.
Five months later, on January 14, 2016, the world lost one of its greatest actors of its time.
The severity of pancreatic cancer depends on where the tumour is located in the pancreas, its size, and whether it has spread.
“Pancreatic cancer may not have any symptoms, or they might be hard to spot,” the NHS warned.
One symptom to look out for is jaundice; this is when the whites of the eyes and the skin take on a yellow hue.
Jaundice can also lead to itchy skin, darker urine, and paler poo – so do look before you flush.
The tumour may also lead to unexplained weight loss, which is when the pounds keep dropping off without a change in your diet or exercise regime.
Cancer can also lead to fatigue and feeling as if you have “no energy”.
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Moreover, be aware of having a “high temperature, or feeling hot or shivery”.
Other symptoms can affect your digestion, so pancreatic cancer may cause you to feel sick or to vomit.
Pancreatic cancer might also lead to “diarrhoea or constipation, or other changes in your poo”.
There could be pain at the top of the stomach, where the pancreas is located, and in the back.
The pain could worsen when eating or lying down and typically feels better when you lean forward.
It is possible for the tumour to cause symptoms of indigestion, such as feeling bloated.
If you experience any symptoms for two weeks that are not improving, seeking the advice of your doctor is highly recommended.
“Many of these symptoms are very common and can be caused by many different conditions,” the NHS noted.
“Having them does not definitely mean you have pancreatic cancer. But it’s important to get them checked by a GP.”
As with any type of cancerous lesion, the sooner the tumour is spotted, the better the likelihood of survival.
Treatment options can include surgery to remove the cancer, in addition to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Alan Rickman stars in Galaxy Quest, which will be airing on Saturday, July 30 at 11.35am on ITV4.
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