Pancreatic Cancer

Lisa Schulmeister, RN, MN, APRN-BC, OCN, FAAN

Of the 10 most lethal cancers, it's the only one with a single digit survival rate.

The survival rate for pancreatic cancer is a mere 6%. Even more alarming is the projected 55% increase in its incidence by 2030. Pancreatic cancer is anticipated to move from the 4th leading cause of cancer death to the 2nd leading cause of cancer death by 2020, possibly as early as 2015.

In September 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act (H.R. 733), formerly known as the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act. The same day, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee marked up similar legislation. This legislation will require the National Cancer Institute to develop a long-term plan (e.g. scientific framework) for pancreatic cancer research.

On November 29, 2012, the senate passed by voice vote an amendment to include the Recalcitrant Cancer Research legislation in the Defense Authorization Act. This larger defense bill is likely to pass in the coming days and once it does, the House and the Senate will meet to resolve any differences between their two versions of the bill. After they agree on a compromise version, the final bill will be sent to President Obama to sign into law.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (www.pancan.org) has posted information about this legislation on its website, along with a link for contacting Congressional representatives to urge support of this legislation (http://www.pancan.org/section_get_involved/advocate/advocacy_action_center.php).