THE PANCREATIC CANCER ACTION NETWORK IS SADDENED BY THE DEATH OF ACTOR PATRICK SWAYZE
EL SEGUNDO, CA – (September 14, 2009) – The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (www.pancan.org), the only national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure is mourning the loss of legendary actor Patrick Swayze. His diagnosis shocked fans around the world in early 2008 and his subsequent battle put a spotlight on pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Swayze is the latest celebrity to succumb to this deadly disease, others before him include: Chuck Daly, Randy Pausch, Luciano Pavarotti, Michael Landon, Donna Reed, Juliet Prowse, Joan Crawford and Jack Benny among others.
“On behalf of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, I would like to offer my condolences to his wife, Lisa and the entire Swayze family,” said Julie Fleshman, President and CEO. “For nearly two years he was beating the odds stacked against him and his brave, public battle was a beacon of hope for the pancreatic cancer community. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network will continue to advance research, support patients and create hope in his memory.”
Pancreatic cancer is the most lethal cancer in the United States with a five-year survival rate of only 5 percent. This year over 42,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease and over 35,000 will die. Despite the statistics, pancreatic cancer is the most under-funded among leading cancer killers with less than 2 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s annual research budget—a figure far too low given the severity of the disease.
In January 2009, the pancreatic cancer community took an important step forward of increased federal research funding for pancreatic cancer by developing the first-ever substantive pancreatic cancer legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress. The Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act (H.R. 745), which was introduced by U.S. Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), proposes comprehensive research initiatives and programs that would facilitate finding a cure for pancreatic cancer. Once enacted and fully funded, this legislation will create a more targeted approach to fighting pancreatic cancer and provide scientists with the resources necessary to make significant advances.
To learn more about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, visit www.pancan.org.