Editor’s note: Today’s installment of our 2019 Year in Review series highlights the important work of our advocates across the U.S. working to increase federal funding for pancreatic cancer research.
With approximately 80 percent of pancreatic cancer research funding coming from the federal government, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) advocates are crucial in urging Congress to make pancreatic cancer research a priority.
Advocates rose to the challenge in 2019, taking action in many ways to tell Congress why pancreatic cancer research funding matters – and it paid off in a BIG way!
Our most exciting accomplishment of the year is the creation of the first-ever dedicated pancreatic cancer research program at the Department of Defense. The new program is a win for patients and provides additional pancreatic cancer research dollars for researchers to accelerate progress and improve patient outcomes.
The creation of this new program has been PanCAN’s top legislative priority for the past two years, and it is a huge win for the entire pancreatic cancer community! We could not have done it without the relentless efforts of our amazing advocates and volunteers across the country.
Here are four other advocacy highlights from the past year.
- Thanks to advocates in Alabama, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) presided over a field hearing on pancreatic cancer, bringing awareness and attention to the disease and the need for federal research funding. Three people who have lost loved ones to pancreatic cancer and a healthcare professional specializing in the disease testified at the hearing.
- 650 registered participants from every state, including 110 pancreatic cancer survivors, flocked to Capitol Hill for National Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day to urge their members of Congress to increase federal funding for pancreatic cancer research. There were more than 370 meetings with legislators on Advocacy Day, and advocates delivered 6,700 petitions to their representatives in the U.S. House and the Senate.
- Thanks to the work of dedicated advocates in previous years, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reported in 2019 that 2017 saw another year of increased pancreatic cancer research funding.
- Thanks to advocate support, Capitol Hill turned purple on World Pancreatic Cancer Day. 48 members of Congress helped shine a spotlight on the disease by wearing purple and sharing through social media and other forums. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) even made a statement on the House floor about the day and recognized PanCAN volunteers from the Western New York affiliate.
An estimated 5,900 Californians and more than 56,000 people nation-wide are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year. It’s important to spot this disease early. On #WorldPancreaticCancerDay learn more about the symptoms here: https://t.co/nGHHV3laFs
— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) November 21, 2019
With a 5-year #PancreaticCancer survival rate of just 9%, the need to do better is urgent. Researchers at @RoswellPark & elsewhere are making strides in overcoming resistance to treatment, still robust funding is needed to save lives. @PanCan #WPCD #WorldPancreaticCancerDay pic.twitter.com/0K1q98Cas1
— Brian Higgins (@RepBrianHiggins) November 21, 2019
— Rep. Kay Granger (@RepKayGranger) November 21, 2019
Passionate advocates have made an incredible difference over the years to increase federal pancreatic cancer research funding. But so much more funding and support is needed.
Your voices were loud in 2019 – and pancreatic cancer patients and their families need you to continue to be heard in 2020 and beyond.