The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) is continuing its work as nationwide leader in the fight against this deadly form of cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network -Northern NJ Chapter (Facebook)

This year, nearly 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and more than 40,000 will die from the disease. It currently ranks as the fourth-deadliest form of cancer.

Because of these staggering statistics, PanCAN is leading the way to increase the survival rate through a bold initiative.

Todd Cohen, a member of the Volunteer Advisory Committee for the Northern New Jersey chapter, said they are striving to double the pancreatic cancer survival rate by 2020. The current five-year survival rate stands at just seven percent.

"We do that through research, patient support, community outreach, and advocacy," Cohen explained. "So hopefully, we will reach that goal within the next five years."

A study predicts that pancreatic cancer will become the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths by 2020, which makes PanCAN's Vision of Progress initiative even more essential.

"The five-year survival rate has bumped up a little bit, but there hasn't been enough meaningful progress," Cohen said. "We want to see that number jump up drastically over the next couple of years."

They hold one of their biggest events of the year on Sunday, April 12 at Camp Harmony in Warren, NJ. PurpleLight raises awareness about the deadly disease through a gathering.

"The PurpleLight is a way to remember those that have been lost to pancreatic cancer, as well as to honor those that are currently fighting this disease," Cohen said.

The community event begins at 7 p.m. Participants will share stories and support each other by committing to fight pancreatic cancer. Registration can be done online.

It will be one of 80 PurpleLight awareness events taking place across the country as PanCAN brings people together to work towards their ambitious goal.

"We have to double that survival rate by 2020, and I know with the support we're having, we will be able to meet that goal."

Find out more about this organization by visiting the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network website and Facebook page.