In an effort to increase the survival rate for pancreatic cancer, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, a national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure, is calling attention to the dire statistics surrounding the disease and urging people to Volunteer for Progress during National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in November.

Pancreatic cancer is the only cancer tracked by the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute with a five-year relative survival rate still in the single digits. At a dismal six percent, the survival rate for pancreatic cancer has not improved substantially in 40 years.

“The incidence of pancreatic cancer has been on the rise since 1998 and experts predict the upward trend to continue, with a 55% increase in pancreatic cancer cases by 2030,” said Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “During National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and beyond we must work together to know, fight and end this deadly disease to save the lives of tens of thousands of Americans in the future.”

Pancreatic cancer was recently thrust into the spotlight once again with the passing of technology industry icon Steve Jobs, Nobel Prize winning research scientist Ralph Steinman, MD, and “pianist to the presidents” Roger Williams ? all within days of each other. Through the years, this deadly disease has claimed the lives of other luminaries including actors Patrick Swayze and Michael Landon, Carnegie Mellon University Professor and The Last Lecture author Randy Pausch, PhD, and opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti.

But mostly, pancreatic cancer affects the lives of everyday Americans mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and colleagues. This year, more than 44,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and nearly 38,000 will die from it. In fact, 74% of patients die within the first year of their diagnoses because the disease is typically caught at a late stage. There are no early detection tools and few effective treatment options exist.

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Despite the sobering statistics, just two percent of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) federal research funding is allocated to pancreatic cancer. Once enacted and fully funded, the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act (S. 362/ H.R. 733) will ensure that the NCI develops a long-term comprehensive strategic plan for developing early diagnostics and treatment options that will increase the survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is urging the public to Volunteer for Progress by taking simple actions that can make a big difference in the fight against the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The actions include volunteering with a local affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, participating in events such as PurpleStride or PurpleLight National Vigil for Hope, or contacting their members of Congress to gain their support for more pancreatic cancer research funding.

For more information:
Click here to learn more about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and to learn how you can Volunteer for Progress.

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