In honor of the passing of Alan Rickman, an accomplished theater and film actor best known for his role as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, we urge the nation to better understand pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer has the lowest five-year survival rate of any major cancer, at only 8 percent.

As we recently shared, the American Cancer Society reported that more patients will die from pancreatic cancer than breast cancer this year, moving pancreatic cancer from the fourth to the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.

And by 2020, pancreatic cancer is expected to surpass colon cancer to become the second-leading cause of cancer deaths.

“It’s time to shine a brighter spotlight on pancreatic cancer,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “The statistics speak for themselves and relay an even greater urgency to incite a national movement, focused on research that will result in new treatment options and better outcomes for patients battling this disease.”

Rickman, who died from the disease on Jan. 14, 2016, at the age of 69, joins a growing list of other musicians, actors and notable public figures who’ve succumbed to the disease, including Patrick Swayze.

“We are saddened that Rickman’s life was cut short by this ruthless disease,” said Fleshman. “We remain committed to bring better treatment options to pancreatic cancer patients and double survival by 2020.”

To combat this upward trend, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is working to double survival by 2020 by continuing to directly fund research, advocate for increased funding and resources from the national government, raise awareness through community outreach, and provide excellent patient services and support for novel initiatives like Clinical Trial FinderKnow Your TumorSM personalized medicine service and the Patient Registry.

But more must be done.

Learn more about how you can support the pancreatic cancer community and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network by visiting

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