Taking the fight to pancreatic cancer
Since 2007, the Northern New Jersey Affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has been raising money and awareness for the deadly disease.
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Spokesman Todd Cohen said the group continues to work to improve the very low survival rates for victims. The five year survival rate currently stands at just six percent, while 73 percent of patients will die within the first year of diagnosis.
"Pancreatic cancer is currently the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, and it is anticipated to be the second-leading cause by about 2020," he said.
Pancan is trying to accomplish this goal through research, support, community outreach and advocacy.
"By raising money and raising awareness, we are taking small steps, but meaningful steps in fighting this insidious disease," Cohen said.
Some major hurdles that have prevented greater progress are the lack of early detection, the lack of viable treatments, and a lack of funding for the cause.
"Pancreatic cancer is one of the most underfunded and least studied of major cancer killers," he said.
The charity has been successful in bringing in huge donations through their yearly signature event, Purple Stride New Jersey, which takes place in the fall.
The 2013 event raised $265,000 with a turnout of over 2,000 people. In fact, they've brought in $1 million in proceeds during the five previous events.
They are hoping to raise $350,000 during this year's Purple Stride New Jersey. Cohen said they rely on survivors and their family and friends to keep the word out there on the dangers of pancreatic cancer, and to continue the fight.
"To wear purple in November for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and increase the survival rate and continue to make progress against this disease."