With a five-year survival rate of just 6 percent, pancreatic cancer has the lowest relative survival rate of all the cancers tracked by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The good news is that there is currently a bill in Congress, the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act (S. 362/H.R. 733), that would change these statistics by requiring the NCI to develop a long-term comprehensive strategic plan to combat this insidious disease.

The dismal survival rates have changed little over the past decades. We cannot continue to wait for the status quo to produce new results. We need a new game plan. We need the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act passed.

Imagine you are told you have a disease with three to six months to live, and the statistics say you probably won’t survive more than five months. My father got this news when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of 56. He died five months later. I believe the combination of early detection and treatment would have saved his life. Currently, with no early detection methods, research and medical advancements are the only way survival statistics will change.

As members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, our representatives, Steve Scalise, R-New Orleans, and Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, wield enormous influence over the fate of the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act. We need their support. Please join me in urging Reps. Scalise and Cassidy to co-sponsor HR733 today in order to give hope to the 44,000 Americans who will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year.

Together we can make a difference.

Paula Aliers

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