One of the reasons that pancreatic cancer is such a challenging disease is that it is frequently diagnosed once it’s reached more advanced, aggressive stages. The best opportunity for a positive outcome is when pancreatic cancer is diagnosed early, when the patient might be eligible for surgery.


Let us help you by informing patients about your pancreatic cancer clinical trials.  If you are conducting clinical trials, we want to know about your studies!

Volunteer Recruitment

Our volunteers are second to none.  Passionate, focused and relentless in their desire to change the course of history for pancreatic cancer.  Are you ready to get involved?


For every $1 invested by Pancreatic Cancer Action Network between 2003-2011, our research grant recipients have gone on to receive $9.93 in subsequent funding to support their pancreatic cancer studies.

Every grant recipient during that time has authored an average of 13 pancreatic cancer-related papers published in biomedical journals, and every paper has been read, built upon, and cited by other scientists an average of nearly eight times in other articles.


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“Spreading Hope and Inspiration: One Woman’s Journey with Pancreatic Cancer”

Brenda-ColemanSurviving pancreatic cancer is like walking a tightrope.  In one hand, you hold the reality of this disease, the statistics and limited treatment options. In the other hand, you hold the desire to be hopeful, to believe in what could be. And then balancing the two, we have to stand on the rope and greet each new day as a gift.

I am humbled to be one of the long term survivors of pancreatic cancer. At age 44, I was a healthy, active, stay at home mother of four, with three still in grade school.  In 2001, I noticed my digestion process seemed slower and somehow not normal.  Lab tests were followed by an ultrasound and then an MRI, with no results. Finally, a CT scan showed a suspicious looking “spot” on my pancreas. I had pancreatic cancer. I had the Whipple procedure, which was major surgery, and fortunately the results were better than we hoped for. Still it was a long recovery as I adjusted to a “new normal.”

I participated in a clinical trial treatment that lasted six months. During that time, we had a focus: we were actively fighting the cancer.  But once treatment stopped, it became a waiting game. Would the cancer return?

About a year after my surgery, I had the chance to speak to a group at our church. I came to a new realization … that this cancer journey was not mine alone… that others who loved and surrounded me were being changed for the better because of my cancer. That perspective brought me, for the first time, a sense of “peace” about my destiny, whatever it would be. In the midst of the uncertainty and fear, I felt a deep sense of gratitude.  I was grateful to be a survivor.

In 2009, I accepted a volunteer leadership role with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to help spread the word in Minnesota about their Patient and Liaison Services (PALS) Program.  I started by recruiting a handful of willing volunteers.  We decided that the best way to get the word out about PALS was through physicians and their nurses.  Every patient will eventually see an oncologist, and most will see a gastroenterologist, so we started by targeting those clinics and doctor’s offices. All of us were survivors or family members, so it was easy to explain how these resources could be so important to patients.

In 2010, I became the Twin Cities Affiliate Coordinator for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.  This work has been hugely rewarding for me, as more and more people learn what we are doing and decide to join us.  The organization has a goal to double the survival by the year 2020.  This sounds very aggressive, but we believe it is achievable.  And having a concrete focus creates hope and excitement for all of us.

We have accomplished a lot here in Minnesota that helps us toward that goal.  It is amazing to me that passionate volunteers can make such an important impact. In the last eight years, our PurpleRide event alone has raised $2.5 million. This combined with our local PurpleStride Rochester, TEAMHOPE runners at Grandma’s Marathon and PurpleLight events have united our community and raised a tremendous amount of awareness and funds, totaling close to $3.0M in MN over the past 8 years.

Last year, after 11 years, I experienced a recurrence of my cancer which we are currently treating.  I now know I will likely never be done with this cancer, but I know that the only thing I can control is how I respond to it and I have decided that I won’t give up. At the end of the day, I want to everyone to know that our experiences with pancreatic cancer can serve a purpose. Every experience, everyone’s journey, can bring hope and inspiration, if we all work together to make a difference.

Brenda lost her battle with pancreatic cancer on May 6, 2014. Her generosity of spirit and her unstinting service to the pancreatic cancer community over the last five years are her shining legacy.

Capitol building Washington

DECEMBER 21, 2012



The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Urges President Obama to Sign the Legislation into Law

Manhattan Beach, CA (December 21, 2012) — The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, formerly known as the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act, has passed Congress today as part of the National Defense Authorization Act and will now be sent to President Obama to sign into law. The legislation requires the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to evaluate its current efforts in studying pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, and other recalcitrant cancers, and focus on ways to improve outcomes.

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November 9, 2012



MANHATTAN BEACH, CA (November 9, 2012) — The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is pleased to announce Abraxane® extends survival for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. According to Celgene Corporation, Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine when given to advanced pancreatic cancer patients who had not received previous treatment demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in overall survival compared to patients receiving gemcitabine alone. Read More »


November 1, 2012


The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Calls on the Public to Take Action During National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in November

Manhattan Beach, CA (November 1, 2012) — Over the past 30 years there has been a revolution in science and medicine, resulting in increased survival rates for many diseases such as AIDS, breast cancer and diabetes. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer has not benefited from these medical advances because historically there haven’t been enough people who know it. Not enough people fighting for action and not enough research to end it. As a result, pancreatic cancer is the only one of the top cancer killers with a five-year survival rate in the single digits, at just six percent. But the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has a vision to change that. Read More »