After Forty Years of No Real Progress in Survival Rates, Pancreatic Cancer Advocates Call on Congress to Co-Sponsor the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act

Jun 13, 2011, 07:00 ET from Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- This year, we are recognizing the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the 1971 National Cancer Act and the significant improvement in overall cancer survival rates from 50 percent to 68 percent. However, not all Americans have reason to celebrate. Pancreatic cancer patients generally receive the same diagnosis today that they received in 1971. In fact, it remains the only cancer tracked by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that still has a five-year relative survival rate in the single digits at six percent.


Over 500 concerned citizens from across the country are coming to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, June 14 and many people will participate in our National Call-In, to tell Congress that the lack of progress in one of our nation's leading cancer killers is unacceptable.  They will advocate the urgent need for increased federal pancreatic cancer research funding and ask members of Congress to co-sponsor the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act (S.362/H.R.733). The bill, introduced in the House by Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and in the Senate by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), 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 and our thousands of advocates and supporters from across the country are calling on Congress to take action now to spur true progress in fighting the disease," stated Julie Fleshman President and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. "Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It must be made a priority; pancreatic cancer patients can't wait another forty years."

In 2010, over 43,000 Americans were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and nearly 37,000 died. Currently, research dedicated to pancreatic cancer receives approximately two percent of the federal dollars distributed by the NCI and there is no national long-term and comprehensive plan for how to improve survival.  

Advocates will also ask their members of Congress to protect NCI funding from potential budget cuts for fiscal year 2012 in order to ensure continued progress is made to combat all cancers, including pancreatic.

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network supporters who are unable to attend Advocacy Day will support their fellow advocates on Capitol Hill by participating in a National Call-In. Details of the National Call-In, in addition to more information about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act, can be found at

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.

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Julie Fleshman

SOURCE Pancreatic Cancer Action Network