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Legislature Designates November Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Rep. Petersen's resolution will raise awareness of deadly disease

JUNEAU - Today, the Alaska Legislature passed a resolution naming November 2011 Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Rep. Pete Petersen introduced the legislation to raise awareness of the deadly disease after a constituent told him of her father's difficult battle with pancreatic cancer and the relative lack of research and attention the disease gets.

"It's my hope, that by raising awareness of this terrible cancer, we will be able to steer more research into finding a ways to detect it, treat it and even prevent it," said Rep. Petersen. "It's too deadly to ignore."

Over 43,000 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States (US) in 2010. Almost 37,000 will die from the disease. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. With no real improvement in survival rates in the last 40 years, and tens of thousands dying from the disease each year, pancreatic cancer ranks as one of the deadliest cancers. Often, by the time symptoms of pancreatic cancer first appear, it is too late for an optimistic prognosis. Despite these dire statistics, pancreatic cancer only receives 2% of the National Cancer Institute's federal research funding.

The resolution (HCR 1) passed the Senate 20-0 and now goes to the Governor for his signature.

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