January 5, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SURVIVAL RATE FOR PANCREATIC CANCER REMAINS UNCHANGED WHILE SURVIVAL IMPROVES FOR OTHER LEADING cancers
MANHATTAN BEACH, CA (January 5, 2012) — According to the report, “Cancer Facts & Figures 2012,” released yesterday by the American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer remains the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States for both men and women. As noted in the report the top five cancer killers are, in order, lung, colon, breast, pancreatic and prostate. Solid progress in increasing survival rates among each of these leading cancer killers has been made, with the exception of pancreatic cancer. It is the only cancer among the top five cancer killers that our nation has yet to make significant progress towards increasing the survival rate. The five-year relative survival rate is just six percent and has not changed significantly in over 40 years.
“The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is urging swift and strategic action against this devastating disease. We must make pancreatic cancer research a priority and dedicate the necessary resources to ensure patient outcomes will improve in years to come,” stated Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “For too long, this disease has been overlooked and the odds have been stacked against pancreatic cancer patients. A five-year relative survival rate of just six percent for pancreatic cancer is unequivocally, completely unacceptable. We have to change the course of this disease.”
Currently, research dedicated to pancreatic cancer receives approximately two percent of the federal dollars distributed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and there is no long-term and comprehensive strategy in place to improve survival. 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 diagnostic tools and treatment options that will increase the survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and in the House by Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ), and is currently receiving broad bi-partisan support from legislators.
This year, it is estimated 43,920 people in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 37,390 will die from the disease. Due to late stage diagnosis of the disease, 74 percent of patients die within one year of diagnosis.
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is intensifying its efforts to increase survival of pancreatic cancer patients through The Vision of Progress: Double the Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rate by 2020. The organization is doubling its efforts to raise awareness, support patients and intensify advocacy for a national research strategy dedicated to finding a cure.
“Our community is desperate to save the lives of loved ones affected by this disease, and the tens of thousands of Americans who have yet to be diagnosed. We urge our lawmakers to support our efforts and pass, without delay, the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act,” added Fleshman.
To learn more about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, visit www.pancan.org.
About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is the national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure. The organization is leading the way to increase the survival rate for people diagnosed with this devastating disease through a bold initiative–The Vision of Progress: Double the Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rate by 2020. Together, we can know, fight and end pancreatic cancer by intensifying our efforts to heighten awareness, raise funds for comprehensive private research, and advocate for dedicated federal research to advance early diagnostics, better treatments and increase chances of survival.
Jennifer Reeves Rosen
Senior Manager, Public Relations
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network