Sunday, November 20, 2011

Debbie Ryan: "With pancreatic cancer, everybody dies."

I hate pancreatic cancer. It's personal to me; my father died of it 11 days before my first son was born. In most cases it is a death sentence, but 10 years later, Debbie Ryan lives. I've spoken to Ryan about the disease, and she knows how fortunate she is to have survived a disease where the survival rate is almost minimal.Only 4 percent diagnosed with the disease live longer than five years.

“With pancreatic cancer, everybody dies,” says Ryan in this wonderful blog post on the UVA Medical site. “So now you have no one to carry the flag – and the fewer the people you have helping it, the fewer dollars you have going towards it. Only 2 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s funds go to pancreatic cancer, yet it’s the fourth leading killer and rising.”

It is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Pancreatic cancer has no pink ribbon to make a statement, but luckily it has Ryan to champion the cause.

What can be done? Show your support for the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act, which will be reintroduced in Washington by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rep.Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ). Once enacted and fully funded, the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act will ensure that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) takes the necessary steps to address the astounding mortality of pancreatic cancer by developing a long-term comprehensive strategic plan targeting the disease so patient outcomes will improve in the years to come.

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