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posted: 7/10/2011 12:01 AM

Take action against pancreatic cancer

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In June, over 500 advocates from around the country traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with their legislators and thousands of others called in as part of Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day. Our message was simple: We will not wait any longer for action against pancreatic cancer. We must pass the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act (S 362/HR 733) now!

I just lost my father to pancreatic cancer less than four weeks after his diagnosis. My father was only 64 years old and I expected him to live until he was 100. My family and I miss him terribly and do not want any other families to have to go through the pain we did.

It's been 40 years since Congress passed the National Cancer Act, and despite considerable improvement in overall cancer survival rates, pancreatic cancer still has a survival rate of just 6 percent and still no early detection tools or effective treatments. Even more alarming, the number of patients diagnosed with this disease is expected to increase by 55 percent in the next 20 years. In spite of these statistics, the National Cancer Institute allocates only about 2 percent of its $5 billion research budget for pancreatic cancer.

The best way to fight this disease and change the status quo is to pass the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act. I call on our entire delegation to Congress to co-sponsor this critical legislation now so that we can begin to reverse the direction of pancreatic cancer and offer newly diagnosed patients real hope.

Elizabeth Hornback