If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ll know how much this particular disease terrifies me and how much it has impacted my family’s life. Both my mom and my papaw died of the disease.
As noted in the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s (PCAN) Fact Sheet, “Little is known about risk factors and there are NO EARLY DETECTION METHODS.”
Other terrifying facts collected by the PCAN include:
- Pancreatic cancer is the 10th most commonly diagnosed cancer, but the 4th leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
- Pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer with a five-year relative survival rate in the single digits.
- Unlike many other cancers, the survival rate for the disease has not improved substantially in the over 40 years since passage of the National Cancer Act. Since 1975, the five-year relative survival rate for pancreatic cancer has moved from 2 percent to only 6 percent.
- It is estimated that in 2012, 43,920 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 37,390 will die from the disease. Seventy-four percent of patients will die within the first year of diagnosis.
- Of all the racial/ethnic groups in the United States, African-Americans have the highest incidence rate of pancreatic cancer, between 34 percent and 67 percent higher than the other groups.
- While overall cancer incidence and death rates are declining, the incidence of pancreatic cancer and death rate for pancreatic cancer have been increasing.
- The number of new pancreatic cancer cases in the United States has been projected to increase by 55 percent between 2010 and 2030.
Among the tens of thousands of individuals takes from us each year are key figures in our social and cultural landscape including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Count Basie, Jack Benny, Joan Crawford, Fred Gwynne, Rex Harrison, Steve Jobs, Michael Landon, Henry Mancini, Luciano Pavarotti, Donna Reed, and Patrick Swayze. Each of these were taking from us when they still had so much to give and who knows what else could be accomplished by the 40,000 Americans who will die this year!
I urge you to sign on to to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Advocacy Program and alert your legislators, newspapers and friends to this very worthy cause. Without the dedication of these people this disease will never find a cure.