Five years on, having survived against the odds, he is on a mission to raise awareness and is today on his way to a charity trek across the Grand Canyon.
Dr John Nathan, who worked for 27 years at Chevin Medical Practice in Otley and Bramhope, said the illness had an immense impact, and has credited his wife Jackie for supporting him through it.
Now, he said, he is determined now to live life to the full, and to do all he can to raise the profile of a “hugely underfunded” illness.
“It’s such a common cancer and it kills 95 per cent of those who get it within five years,” the 69-year-old said. “Yet there’s been a really low volume of research over the past few years.
“I’m very fortunate to have survived - it’s sheer luck really. And I’m determined to make the most of it. I was fully sure I was going to die from this. When I survived, it was a surprise. There’s a lot of things you put on a back burner.
“So now I’m getting on with it. I decided to live life to the full and try and pack as much in as I could. I’m coming up to my 70th, and I’ve survived five years.
“I’m in a position where I can do something. Let’s go for it.”
Dr Nathan, a father of three and grandfather of five, sets off for Arizona today.
Over the coming six days, he will trek across the Grand Canyon, accompanied by a fellow Leeds doctor Dr Geoff Lipman, a former Chapel Allerton GP who now works for Nuffield House. Together, they hope to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK.
“If I can survive, maybe others can as well,” he said. “Particulary if we get the funds for research.”