ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A Columbia, Illinois woman whose father died of pancreatic cancer is working to promote early testing during this National Pancreatic Cancer Month.

Mary Elizabeth Beary lost her father, Thomas Joseph Beary in May of 2008. He was 64.

Beary says her father had been suffering from stomach pains for six months but was misdiagnosed. When he finally underwent an MRI and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he lived only three more months.

“I don’t want anyone to lose their heroes and my dad is my hero,” Mary says. “I don’t want anyone to see what I saw. I don’t want anyone to suffer like my dad suffered and to have the kind of fear that he had.”

Thomas Beary served as a police officer for the Cahokia, Illinois police department from the late 1960s through mid-1980s, his daughter said. He later moved to Florida.

Mary Beary says anyone with a family history of the disease or other high risk factors, such as Type 2 diabetes, should get tested routinely. African-Americans are also at a higher risk for the disease.


Thomas Joseph Beary III died in May of 2008. He was 64. This is one of the last photos taken of Thomas doing what he loved.


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