Pancreatic cancer's five-year survival rate of just 6 percent has not improved substantially in over 40 years since the passage of the National Cancer Act. Since my mother's diagnosis in January 2010 and my getting involved as a volunteer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, I have met countless individuals who have lost loved ones within as short a time as two weeks after diagnosis.
The recent death of Sally Ride, who lost her 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, puts a spotlight on this devastating killer. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and the most aggressive type of cancer today. According to the American Cancer Society, this disease has the lowest survival rate of the cancers. An estimated 43,920 new cases will be diagnosed in the United States this year.
We need Congress to pass the Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act (S. 362/H.R. 733), which would put a long-term, comprehensive strategic research plan in place to develop effective treatment options and ultimately give those diagnosed a fighting chance. I hope those inspired by Ride will honor her memory by joining the fight. To learn ways you can help, visit www.pancan.org. Together we can fight and end this deadly disease.