But the light is
beginning to rise.
Forces sufficient to turn the tide in
our battle against pancreatic cancer are,
at last, growing.
A robust community of researchers is forming – coordinating their efforts to speed advancements in treatment and early detection. Families that have suffered at the hands of the disease are demanding national action. The public – shocked and saddened that so many lives are lost so quickly to pancreatic cancer and alarmed by the projected 55 percent increase in its incidence by 2030 – is rallying to our cause.
Lawmakers, galvanized by the appalling losses our nation suffers from pancreatic cancer, are speaking up. In September 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, formerly known as the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act. The same day, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee marked up similar legislation. In short, we have, for the first time, the intellectual and material resources and the national will to go on the offensive against pancreatic cancer.
Many brave pioneers have helped bring us to this day. The donors, advocates, leaders of public policy, healthcare professionals and scientists, volunteers and, most of all, the patients and their families who took up the cause when there was little to hope for except hope itself, now know that their vision and optimism were not misplaced.
For the first time, we have the intellectual and material resources and the national will to go on the offensive against pancreatic cancer.
Scientists who applied their gifts to pancreatic cancer research with faith that, in time, others would join them – they, too, no longer represent a small and scattered force, but the vanguard of an increasingly powerful scientific movement.
To these heroes of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, we say thank you. Thank you for having the courage to invest yourselves in a daunting fight many would shrink from. Thank you for bringing us to the threshold of change.
To those new to our movement, thank you for joining this effort. Thank you for your willingness to help create the first slow momentum, the early and sometimes seemingly meager gains upon which all future, more rapid progress depends. The road ahead will not be easy, but advances will come if we remain spirited and strategic in our fight.
We have a plan. We will build a sufficient and sustained research community and increase clinical trial participation. We will grow federal support. We will mobilize supporters, families, donors and influencers.
We will, with your help, double the pancreatic cancer survival rate by 2020.
Yes, our goal is ambitious. Some say it is impossible. But the same was once said of breast cancer, leukemia and HIV/AIDS. It is now time for pancreatic cancer to lose its place as one of the most stubborn cancers and to become known as one of the most survivable. It is time to conquer that which, for far too long, has conquered us.
It is time for action. We are ready. Come join us.
Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA President and CEO