Nurse gets shock pancreatic cancer diagnosis after noticing ‘Minion-like’ yellow skin

Nurse gets shock pancreatic cancer diagnosis after noticing ‘Minion-like’ yellow skin

A nurse only discovered she had cancer after her husband joked she “looked like a Minion” when she came out the shower, because her skin had turned yellow.

Becki Buggs, 43, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was “completely devastated” by the news.

Becki, from Colchester, Essex, said: “Everything was adding up to the fact that it was not going to be a good diagnosis. It didn’t make it any easier.

“In fact, it made it harder for me to tell people because I’m the person that they normally look to, to reassure them that everything’s going to be okay.

“I couldn’t do that this time because I was completely devastated myself.”

Becki now fears NHS staff shortages could lead to cancer operations being cancelled over the winter and is calling for urgent action from the government. She has already undergone surgery on her tumour – an operation similar to those for which she normally prepares other patients.

Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest form of the disease, as more than half of people die within three months of their diagnosis.

Almost 60 per cent of people who have the disease in Britain are diagnosed in A&E – which means that for most, it is too late for them to receive treatment.

Becki: “I’m worried for other pancreatic cancer patients. It scares me that there are people out there who will think, ‘Oh, I just feel a bit off and I don’t really feel well but it’s fine, I can’t get a GP appointment, so I’ll just ride it out.’

“Then they become so ill and jaundiced that they get admitted to A&E and by then it’s too late. We have huge staff shortages; people are leaving the NHS because they are burnt out and disillusioned.

“There is also now the extra pressure of winter coming up and soon it’s going to be that we’re so short of doctors and nurses that we’re not going to be able to staff the hospitals.”

Becki Buggs only discovered she had cancer after her husband joked about her yellow skin (Pancreatic Cancer UK/SWNS)
Becki Buggs only discovered she had cancer after her husband joked about her yellow skin (Pancreatic Cancer UK/SWNS)

She added: “Intensive care unit (ICU) beds are going to be a crisis again this winter, and you need an ICU bed after pancreatic cancer surgery. These surgeries will get cancelled if there’re no ICU beds and the more that happens, the more opportunity the tumour has to grow. It’s utterly horrible.”

Becki is now backing Pancreatic Cancer UK’s “No Time To Wait” campaign, which is calling for the UK government to promise that everyone with the disease is diagnosed within 21 days of their referral and offered fast access to treatment.

Pancreatic Cancer UK also wants all pancreatic cancer patients to be immediately given access to support from a specialist nurse.

Diana Jupp, the charity’s chief executive, said: “The message from health professionals is frighteningly clear: the pandemic, staff shortages and underfunding have all pushed the NHS to breaking point.

“Pancreatic cancer is the quickest killing cancer, and any delays to diagnosis and treatment could cost people their chance of survival.

“There is no time to wait. Governments across the UK must bring forward and implement funded cancer plans to deliver faster diagnosis and treatment that will save lives, not just this winter but well into the future.

“We cannot afford to continue lurching from one worsening crisis to another. People with pancreatic cancer, their loved ones, and hardworking NHS staff all deserve better.”

SWNS