Lisa Niemi Swayze

Lisa Niemi Swayze

Alex Trebek’s Brave Battle and The Recent Passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Rep. John Lewis, Lead to Increased Public Awareness of Pancreatic Cancer

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – (Nov. 2, 2020) – The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) launched its annual Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month campaign today to raise awareness of the world’s toughest cancer. This November, PanCAN is encouraging the nation to get involved in its fight against pancreatic cancer by highlighting 30 stories, one each day, that illustrate the impact of pancreatic cancer on survivors, caregivers, families and researchers—and the urgent need for research and funding to create better outcomes for patients.

Pancreatic cancer is currently the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S., with an overall five-year survival rate of just 10 percent. While the disease has received more attention recently due to many prominent individuals who have been affected including “JEOPARDY!” host Alex Trebek, as well as the recent passings of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Rep. John Lewis, an increase in public awareness and research funding remain critical.

PanCAN’s public awareness initiative will include digital and broadcast public service announcements and stories that will kick off the month with Lisa Niemi Swayze, longtime PanCAN advocate and wife of the late actor, Patrick Swayze who died from pancreatic cancer in 2009. In addition to quotes and stories throughout the month from pancreatic cancer survivors, researchers, caregivers and donors, on November 16, a special celebrity ambassador will be unveiled.

“This month, through our awareness campaign, we hope to raise much needed funding by focusing the country’s attention on the important role research plays in accelerating progress for patients fighting this disease,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, PanCAN’s president and CEO. “There is no early detection and few treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients, so our work is both urgent and essential and together we can make a difference.”

As a leading organization dedicated to improving the lives of everyone impacted by pancreatic cancer, PanCAN leads large-scale, groundbreaking research initiatives that will be the catalyst for transforming the way pancreatic cancer is detected and treated. From early detection to innovative new treatment approaches, as an unbiased stakeholder, PanCAN is uniquely positioned to bring together the nation’s key thought leaders and experts in the pancreatic cancer research field to help patients thrive. Since 2003, PanCAN has invested approximately $126 million in pancreatic cancer research. This year alone, despite a global pandemic, PanCAN will invest $23 million toward its research initiatives. This investment is only made possible by the support of generous donors.

To learn more about PanCAN’s research initiatives and how you can take action all month, including on World Pancreatic Cancer Day (Nov. 19), visit and follow PanCAN on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) is dedicated to fighting the world’s toughest cancer. In our urgent mission to save lives, we attack pancreatic cancer on all fronts: research, clinical initiatives,

patient services, and advocacy. Our effort is amplified by a nationwide network of grassroots support. We are determined to improve outcomes for today’s patients and those diagnosed in the future.