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Friday, January 12, 2018

National Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials Awareness Month

Photo thanks to Cancer Fighters Thrive

The pancreas is a gland in the abdomen that lies behind the stomach and in front of the spine. Its two main functions are digestion and blood sugar regulation. Pancreatic cancer begins when abnormal cells within the pancreas grow out of control and form a tumor.

Last year I became involved with Pancreatic Cancer Awareness while running a 5k called, PurpleStride Puget Sound 2017, in honor of a friend’s aunt’s struggle against the deadly disease. The overwhelming support and encouragement at that event propelled me to continue participating in awareness for pancreatic cancer.

I went on celebrate Pancreatic Cancer World Awareness Day last November 16 by wearing purple to support the cause. I continue to advocate with National Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials Awareness Month.

One of the most challenging facets of this form of cancer is the difficulty to detect it early. The signs for pancreatic cancer include abdominal or mid-back pain, loss of appetite, jaundice, weight loss, nausea, low mood or depression and pain in eating. However, most of these vague symptoms can easily be explained away, until it is too late.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network works hard to increase the potential for earlier detection and better treatments for patients. One way they do this is through Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials.

January is National Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials Awareness Month. 

Pancreatic cancer patients who participate in clinical research have better outcomes. Every treatment available today was approved through a clinical trial. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) strongly recommends clinical trials at diagnosis and during every treatment decision. 

Last year, PanCAN provided over 2,200 clinical trials in January. Thanks to the community’s participation, PanCAN was able to give valuable treatment information to patients and their families.

PanCAN encourages patients to understand treatment options, learn how to find the right clinical trial and prepare to talk to your healthcare team. Learn more about clinical trials through PanCAN.

Clinical trials often provide the best treatment options for patients, giving early access to leading-edge treatments that can mean progress in research, improved treatment options and better outcomes. PanCAN offers Patient Services to help navigate clinical trials and answer questions about healthcare options.

Six-year pancreatic cancer survivor, Matt Wilson, shares his perspective on the important role of patients play in discovering new and better treatment options, “Many advancements in the fight against pancreatic cancer are due to clinical trials. But trials are only successful when patients are willing to step out and investigate new treatment options. Their participation not only helps them, but it also helps future patients. Those who enroll in clinical trials are trailblazers for our cause!”

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS) 2018 Cancer Facts & Figures, released on January 4, 55,440 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year with an estimation of 44,330 dying from the disease. This annual report analyzes cancer statistics and trends to provide predictions for the coming year.

PanCAN president and CEO, Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, says “That’s 152 mother, daughters, fathers, sons, colleagues and friends who will hear the news every day in 2018, ‘You have pancreatic cancer.’ Our goal is that the doctor will then say, ‘And here are your options.’”

Pancreatic cancer remains at a 9 percent, five-year survival rate. This is a victory; however, in the previous three years, there was an increase. There is still much progress needed to improve outcomes for patients facing this daily disease.

Since pancreatic cancer remains on track to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States around 2020, there is an urgent need for additional funding and awareness to support and improve outcomes for pancreatic cancer research.

PanCAN aims to raise $200 million by 2020, which will ensure that they continue to accelerate progress to double pancreatic cancer survival by 2020. Of the major cancers, pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate.

The increase in funds will allow significant increase in research, development for early detection and better treatment options. Participation in clinical trials will greatly increase this progress as well.

PanCAN also supports year-round government advocacy efforts, improved patient services to improve the lives of those battling pancreatic cancer and raise awareness for community support to further Wage Hope and rewrite the future of pancreatic cancer.

The leading fundraiser to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is PurpleStride, the walk to end pancreatic cancer. This 5k, hosted all over the United States, fuels progress and enables the continue of advanced research to serve more patients and families. 

“It’s so important to participate in PurpleStride. The funds raised go toward continuing research, educating the public and providing services that give current and future patients a chance for survival.” stated Francesca Kivitt, PurpleStride Fundraiser.

PurpleStride begins this year on February 10 in St. Petersburg and Miami, Florida. It then continues throughout the year in many major cities across the country.

I honor National Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials Awareness Month by sharing what I have learned about pancreatic cancer and to continue to support the people whose lives are impacted by this deadly disease. #WageHope #PANCan #PANCaware


  1. Lost my Aunt to this nasty disease.

    1. I'm sorry for your loss. It absolutely is a nasty disease. The more I get involved with PANCan awareness, the more I see how it affects people and their families. They are paving the way to find better treatment options, I can't wait to be able to spread that news.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Have a great week!


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