Pancreatic cancer needs to be addressed

Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all the cancers tracked by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that still has a five-year survival rate in the single digits (6 percent). There are no early detection tools and no effective treatments. Despite these facts, the federal government has no long-term comprehensive research strategy to combat pancreatic cancer.

The best way to fight this disease and change the status quo is to pass the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act (S. 362/H.R. 733). The bill would require the NCI to develop a long-term comprehensive strategic plan to combat the disease. I am grateful that our very own Sen. Mark Begich is a co-sponsor of this critical legislation. Not all of our representatives in Congress though have signed on to the bill yet.

Madeline Jones, of Anchorage, will join me and nearly 600 other concerned citizens from across the country in Washington D.C., on June 13 and 14, for the fifth annual Advocacy Day to meet with Members of Congress and encourage them to pass the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act. We are participating because I lost my father, David Shew, Sr., to pancreatic cancer in February 2011.  He was diagnosed in March 2010 at age 65 and passed away a week before his 66th birthday in February 2011.

I would encourage everyone to join me and thousands of other pancreatic cancer advocates from across the country on June 14 for a National Call-In to Congress asking that they co-sponsor the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act. Go to www.knowitfightitendit.org to learn more.

Together, we can make a difference in the fight against pancreatic cancer.

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