FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MANHATTAN BEACH, CA (June 23, 2015) — More than 600 pancreatic cancer advocates from across the country are gathering on Capitol Hill today for National Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day to urge Congress to wage hope in the fight against pancreatic cancer by increasing federal research funding.
Researchers, cancer survivors and their loved ones will call on Congress to:
- Support a budget agreement or other legislation providing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with $33 billion for FY 2016, including a proportional $5.4 billion for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and put the NIH on a sustainable path for long-term growth
- Continue to include pancreatic cancer in the Department of Defense (DoD) Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) and provide at least $50 million for the program
- Join the Congressional Caucus on the Deadliest Cancers
Since 2003, the NIH budget has decreased over 20 percent, more than $6 billion (adjusted for inflation). Ten years ago, the NIH funded nearly one out of three applications, however that number is now one in seven. Participants will be telling Congress that this trend of letting NIH funding wither on the vine must stop immediately.
“The time has come for Congress to Wage Hope for people with pancreatic cancer and the thousands of other diseases for which there are no effective treatments or early detection tools,” said Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
A devastating 93 percent of pancreatic cancer patients will not survive more than five years and more than 100 Americans lose their fight against the disease every day. This year, nearly 49,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and more than 40,500 will die from the disease. An alarming study by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network predicts that by 2020 pancreatic cancer will surpass colon and breast to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States.
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has long advocated for increased federal support in an effort to improve patient outcomes. Due to these efforts, the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act was signed into law by President Obama in 2013. The following year, a specific framework was created by the NCI which provided specific recommendations for moving forward on research initiatives to develop early-detection methods and new treatment approaches. The RAS Initiative, a milestone project launched as part of this framework, has the potential to increase the survival rate for pancreatic cancer as well as other forms of cancer that are driven by KRAS, a gene that is mutated in more than 90 percent of pancreatic cancer cases and 30 percent of all other forms of cancer.
“For every hour we spend waiting for critical research to be funded, we lose nearly five more pancreatic cancer patients. It is time to stand up for all of the good that medical research brings us, from lives saved to jobs saved,” said Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
Supporters unable to attend Advocacy Day are encouraged to participate in the National Call-In to add their voices to those in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.pancan.org/nationalcallin.
“Cancer research is not a partisan issue. Recently, we have seen prominent Republicans and Democrats alike calling for significant increases to NIH funding. This is an issue that unites us all,” adds Fleshman.
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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 survival for people diagnosed with this devastating disease through a bold initiative — The Vision of Progress: Double Pancreatic Cancer Survival by 2020. Together, we can Wage Hope in the fight against 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 and better treatments and increase chances of survival.
For more information, go to www.pancan.org
Follow the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network on Twitter: @PanCAN and #WageHope
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