Cancer patient uses diagnosis to bring awareness

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — 51-year-old Cameron Hughes has lived in Wilmington for years. Though he’s had his health problems, he never expected a diagnosis that would put his life on fast forward.

“I never thought I would say that diverticulitis would save my life,” said Hughes, “but having the pains from my diverticulitis caused me to go in and find it as early as I did.”

Late in April, the father of four said he began to lose weight and energy. Though he didn’t think much of it at first, he finally went to the Doctor’s office a week later.

“We took a cat scan,” Hughes remembered, “and I literally left the doctor’s office at 1:30, and by two o’clock and said, hey I need you to come back in. We need to talk.”

Doctors found a tumor on his pancreas and two legions on his liver. Just one week after feeling strange, Hughes had stage four pancreatic cancer.

“The scary thing about it is from what I’m reading, and the things I’ve learned from the doctor so far, is pancreatic cancer doesn’t have a lot of symptoms…. until its too late.”

Now, just two months after the diagnosis, he’s fighting the cancer with experimental drugs and his first round of chemo.

“It’s an intensive regimen, but it’s one I’m facing with hope and optimism, and staying positive throughout it all,” he said.

Moving up and planning his wedding in just two weeks, intent to enjoy every bit of life before the treatments or the cancer fully take hold.

“We wanted to make sure our wedding was a happy memory. And not one of me struggling with chemo or my hair falling out. We wanted it to be non-stressful for everybody involved.”

But if there’s one thing he can share with others, it’s to get checked by your doctors. If he had waited any longer for a checkup, Hughes says he might not have had the opportunity to fight his cancer.

“Don’t let your fear stop you from being able to find out something early enough to fix it. If you wait too long, then you’re standing the chance of hearing the news and then it just being over.”

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