We must find a cure for pancreatic cancer

| msilverstein@queenscourier.com |

It has been nearly two months since my mother passed away after losing her battle with cancer. I would like to thank all my friends, family, neighbors and readers for their warm wishes, thoughts and prayers. This has been the most difficult time of my life but my family and I are getting through it slowly.

It has been a while since I posted on this blog, and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to write about. Then we started to get dozens of letters from the Lustgarten Foundation informing us of people who had made a donation in my mother’s memory.

My mother suffered from a very aggressive form of cancer that acted just like pancreatic cancer. Did you know that for over 40 years the survival rate for pancreatic cancer has remained at 6 percent? According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, about 43,000 Americans were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2010 and about 36,800 Americans died from pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related death in the United States. The majority of pancreatic cancer patients die within one year of diagnosis.

These statistics are very scary. The federal government’s response to finding a cure for pancreatic cancer has been even scarier. I learned that the federal government has put the National Institute of Health (NIH) in charge of allocating funding for cancer research. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is a part of the NIH, and the majority of cancer research studies are funded here. The NCI is the primary source for pancreatic cancer funding. Pancreatic cancer research receives no other funding from any other federal agency.

The NCI currently dedicates barely two percent of its funding to pancreatic cancer research. The average dollar amount of research grants in pancreatic  cancer when they are distributed by the NCI are anywhere from 15 to 30 percent less than those for other forms of cancer such as lung, colon, breast and prostate. This is totally unacceptable and we are losing the battle against this terrible disease. It is time for our government to develop a comprehensive plan to fund and fight this disease.

The Lustgarten Foundation is based out of Bethpage, Long Island. According to its website, the “Lustgarten Foundation is committed to advancing the scientific and medical research related to the diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of pancreatic cancer.”

Cablevision Systems Corporation underwrites all of the foundations administrative expenses which ensures that 100 percent of all donations to the foundation go directly to pancreatic cancer research. This is a wonderful organization and I know that all the money donated in my mother’s memory will go to finding a cure to this disease.

I am asking everyone to contact the National Institute of Health and send President Barack Obama a letter and ask them to adequately fund pancreatic cancer research. Maybe one day we can find a cure for this disease and other people wont have to go through the pain my family suffered.