February 17, 2011

Whitehouse, Eshoo, and Lance Introduce Pancreatic Cancer Research Act

Washington, D.C. – Today Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) held a press conference to introduce the Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act.  In attendance were Lisa Swayze, wife of the late Patrick Swayze who died of pancreatic cancer, and Julie Fleishman, President of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

“Pancreatic cancer is a terrible disease which has hit home for thousands of families in Rhode Island and around the country,” said Whitehouse. “This legislation will help develop better treatments and provide hope to those suffering from pancreatic cancer.”

“Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal forms of cancer with a survival rate of six percent.  Despite the terrifying statistics, it’s still one of the most overlooked types of cancer and research continues to be underfunded while the death toll climbs,” Rep. Eshoo said.  “This bill will ensure that the necessary strategy and resources are in place to improve the lives of those suffering from this terrible disease which today is in almost all cases a death sentence.”

“It is imperative that Congress work in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion on reducing the mortality rate for pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States,” Lance said.  “The Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act seeks to provide a greater focus on this disease while giving researchers the tools and resources they need to develop treatments and hopefully cures for pancreatic cancer patients.”  

“For 40 years, the survival rate for pancreatic cancer has remained in the single digits—despite an increase in the incidence of the disease, despite the fact that it is the fourth leading cause of cancer death and at a time when significant progress has been made on other cancers,” said Julie Fleshman, President and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “The survival rate for pancreatic cancer has remained relatively the same because the federal government’s approach to pancreatic cancer has been relatively the same—provide a trickle of research funding as a response to a river of need.”

A new report by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has found that a mere two percent of federal dollars distributed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) go towards pancreatic cancer research.  The Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act will establish a national Pancreatic Cancer Initiative, creating a strategic plan for targeting the disease and giving NCI the tools it needs for earlier diagnosis, better treatment, and hope for a cure.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921