In July of 2006, I lost my Dad to pancreatic cancer. Before he was diagnosed with this horrible disease, we hardly knew it existed. I mean, the pancreas...who really cares, right? It's pretty much on the bottom of the food chain as far as all our body parts are concerned. The brain, lungs, colon, boobs? They're the popular kids at school. The pancreas? He's the quiet little guy who hangs out in the back of the cafeteria. And then one gets a pancreatic cancer diagnosis and one comes to discover that cancer of this tiny little organ has killed so many that have crossed its path. And quickly too.
As someone who's lost a loved one to pancreatic cancer, I am making it my personal mission to raise as much awareness as I can about it. Awareness is the key to building the strength and support we need in the fight against pancreatic cancer.
Did you know that pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and has the HIGHEST mortality rate of all the major cancers? According to the American Cancer Society, 42,470 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year and 35,240 will die from it. By 2030, the number of cases is expected to increase by 55%.
Did you know that unlike other cancers, there are NO early detection tools for pancreatic cancer? An estimated 76% of patients will die within one year of diagnosis.
Did you know that pancreatic cancer research is DRASTICALLY underfunded? Less than 2% of the National Cancer Institute's budget is allocated to pancreatic cancer.
Did you know that the types of cells that make up pancreatic cancer tumors are unique—which contributes to the unfortunate resistance of the tumors to chemotherapies?
If any of the above made you stop and think "Hey, this disease DOES indeed suck and we need to do something about it," you can! November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and here are 10 things, as quoted from The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's website, that you can do to join the fight against pancreatic cancer:
- Raise Awareness—Our Know it. Fight it. End it. campaign builds awareness about pancreatic cancer so more people can take more action in November. Please forward the Know it. Fight it. End it. link to as many friends as you can. Raise awareness about the disease so that together we can End it.
- Get Involved with Your Community Affiliate—We have active affiliates in more than 70 cities across the United States. Click here to find one near you.
- Contact Your Member of Congress—We need your U.S. Representative’s support on the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act (H.R. 745), the first-ever substantive legislation that could have a significant impact on advancing pancreatic cancer research. During November, remind your U.S. Representative of the importance of supporting this critical bill. Share your story and ask your U.S. representative to support H.R. 745..
- Contact Your Local Media—Pancreatic cancer is the least understood and least known of all the major cancer killers. Help us raise the visibility of this disease by sending a Letter to the Editor of your community newspapers. Click here to send the letter now.
- Get a Hug When You Give Back—Tempur-Pedic, our new cause marketing partner, is fighting pancreatic cancer with their new Hugs Back Teddy Bear campaign. To learn more or purchase this adorable and super cuddly bear, with net proceeds from the sale of each bear going to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, go to: www.tempurpedic.com/teddybear.
- Raise the Cure—There’s hope for pancreatic cancer patients, and it starts with you. You can help us create progress through research and create hope for pancreatic cancer patients and their loved ones. Donate today.
- View and Forward Our New Public Service Announcement—You will find this 60 second spot to be compelling and emotional. Please view it and forward it on to as many friends and family as you can to help build even more awareness. Click to view.
- Create Your Own Personal Online Fundraising Page—Creating your own webpage is a great way to share why making pancreatic cancer awareness and raising funds to advance research, support patients and creating hope is so important to you. Click to start your page.
- Join the Conversation Online—Help spread awareness in your social networking community. There are numerous ways to make a difference and join the fight. Here’s how:
- Follow @Pancan on Twitter and retweet our tweets to your Twitter followers. A single tweet has the power of reaching over thousands on Twitter!
- Join the conversation on Facebook to stay informed on upcoming fundraising events, get information on how you can get involved and receive news from inside Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
- Tune-in to our YouTube Channel to watch and share our new PSA video, volunteer and survivor stories. You can help us create awareness by copy and pasting the video URLs into an email or web page, or embed the >videos into your web site or blog!
- Make an online statement with a Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Twibbon! Just add to your Twitter and Facebook profile icons so your friends can see that you’ve joined the fight against pancreatic cancer. Get one here: Make an online statement with a Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Twibbon!
- Go Purple This November—
- Wear something purple all month like a pancreatic cancer awareness wristband!
- Paint your front door purple
- Bake something purple and share it with co-workers and friends
- Tie a purple ribbon around the trees on your street
- Put a yard sign up that says: November is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month – Get Involved – Go to www.pancan.org.