Press Release 5/19/09

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May 19, 2009



EL SEGUNDO, CA – (May 19, 2009) – The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, the only national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure, urges the scientific community and federal government to issue a new challenge to the cancer research community to tackle the deadliest cancers. According to ”Cancer Facts & Figures 2009”, a report recently released from the American Cancer Society, overall cancer deaths are expected to decline again in 2009, while pancreatic cancer cases and deaths will continue to increase. This year, 42,470 people in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 35,240 will die from the disease.

“The new statistics greatly demonstrate the progress in the broad fight against cancer. However, while we have made great strides in some cancers, little progress has been made in some of the most deadly, including pancreatic,” stated Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “We see the release of this report as a call to action. As a country, we must call on our government to re-invigorate the fight against cancer and to issue a new challenge to conquer the most complex issues facing the research community. There are a handful of cancers – including pancreatic – for which survival has not substantially improved in the last thirty years. We can change these statistics and American researchers can lead the way if appropriate resources and attention are dedicated to the cause.”

Pancreatic cancer remains the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, yet is the one of the most lethal with the five year survival rate at just five percent; compared to an overall five year cancer survival rate of 66 percent. The newly released statistics confirm the fact that relatively little is known about pancreatic cancer in stark contrast to other cancers.

“We still know very little about pancreatic cancer because historically pancreatic cancer has received very few private and public dollars for research. While the funding provided to the National Cancer Institute through the economic stimulus bill is an important step, we must now ensure that some of these funds are directed towards our most challenging areas of research, including pancreatic cancer. More dollars dedicated to the disease would create opportunities to understand how pancreatic cancer starts, why it spreads, and how to detect and treat it. Currently, there are no early detection tools or effective treatments for pancreatic cancer,” added Fleshman.

“The expected number of pancreatic cancer cases will rise again this year, and unfortunately, we only expect this trend to continue as the population of baby boomers ages. These trends only further highlight the urgent need for research into early detection and more effective therapies for this disease,” stated Gloria Petersen, PhD, Mayo Clinic Professor of Epidemiology and member of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Scientific Advisory Board. “We have a community of committed scientists ready to study these aspects and we desperately need to do so in order to make progress against this devastating disease.”

About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is the only national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure. The organization raises money for direct private funding of research—and advocates for more aggressive federal research funding of medical breakthroughs in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network fills the void of information and options by giving patients and caregivers reliable, personalized information they need to make informed decisions. We create a sense of hope and community so no one has to face pancreatic cancer alone. The organization helps support individuals and communities all across the country work together to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for pancreatic cancer.


Jennifer Rosen
Senior Manager, Public Relations
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Direct: 310-706-3362


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