So what is pancreatic cancer?
The pancreas is an organ that contains two types of glands, exocrine and endocrine. These glands help the body digest food, produce hormones like insulin and glucagon, and release those hormones into the bloodstream. Pancreatic cancer can be caused by both exocrine and endocrine cells. Pancreatic cancer, whether exocrine or endocrine, is hard to detect, especially in the early stages when it is most treatable. Detection is challenging because the symptoms of pancreatic cancer are not easily noticeable. In fact, in the early stages there are virtually no symptoms of the disease. Additionally, the treatment options available for persons suffering from pancreatic cancer are minimal, even compared to other major cancers. Only 20% of patients are able to have the tumor surgically removed. Even after removal, the patients are at risk of malnutrition since without the pancreas, it is difficult to digest and process foods. For the rest, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or targeted therapy are currently their only options.
Cancer awareness is essential to improving survival ratings. Breast cancer provides a great example. Breast cancer awareness has increased immensely over the last several decades. As awareness has increased, the mortality rate has decreased. Increased cancer awareness promotes early detection which is vital to survival. The survival rating for pancreatic cancer has not substantially increased in the last forty years. The Corporation will work to increase awareness of pancreatic cancer and subsequently decrease the mortality rate.
Providing funding to further pancreatic cancer research is also important to improve survival ratings. Currently, scientists are working to develop pancreatic cancer early detection methods through genetics. Research has discovered that changes to an individual’s DNA can indicate that healthy pancreatic cells are becoming cancerous. Funding is required for pancreatic cancer research to continue to develop more effective and affordable early detection tests and treatment methods.
Supporting patients suffering from pancreatic cancer and their families creates a community that fosters optimism, strength, and compassion. All of which a patient and their family needs before, during, and after their battle with pancreatic cancer. The Corporation will work to support patients and their families at all of these times by providing both financial and moral support, just one human being helping another. The Corporation’s headquarters is surrounded by rural areas. Pancreatic cancer patients in these areas struggle finding adequate medical care in their communities. As a result, many are forced to travel to get medical assistance. Providing financial support to these patients and their families will ease the financial burden faced due to this travel. The funding will allow for overnight stays so families can spend time together, transportation expenses, and meals.