For many of us, November is thought of as a month of thanks. And although there’s much to be grateful for, there are still touchpoints that remind us that as members of a global community, our holistic well-being remains tied to one another. Observances like November’s Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month are integral in helping shine a light on the battle that many of our family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and others are facing. Sickness can be a scary thing. It’s easy to stigmatize, hide, or put our heads in the sand when we don’t have the information or means to empower ourselves. But the willingness to tackle this head-on is exactly what makes our friends at the Pancreatic Action Network (PanCAN) so amazing.
This year, more than 64,000 people in the United States will be confronted with a diagnosis they probably didn’t see coming, with more than 50,000 succumbing to the illness. And, unfortunately, this attack on the pancreas is one of the most severe forms of cancer that people can encounter. As of 2023, the five-year survival rate is 12.5%, one percent higher than 2022. While it may be easy to succumb to the overwhelming challenge that these numbers represent, even the grayest cloud comes with a silver lining. That one percentage point equates to roughly 641 people who will be granted more time to live their lives. It also speaks volumes that the research, clinical trials, and support groups provided by PanCAN have helped contribute to 2023 being the second consecutive year in which survival rates have improved. But these victories, while worthy of much praise and celebration, haven’t left this awesome organization resting on its laurels.
PanCAN President and CEO Julie Fleshman has a very specific goal for the future: a 20% survival rate by 2030. A large portion of this month’s mission is to increase awareness in the form of education and support that transforms patient experiences for the better. And although November’s objective of highlighting this issue retains annual importance, PanCAN’s drive is year-round. For the past 20 years, they’ve collaborated with 213 scientists to provide 234 research grants, totaling $10.5 million in awarded funds. Between their Know Your Tumor® precision medicine service, Precision Promise clinical trial, Early Detection Initiative, and other vital efforts, their commitment to changing medical outcomes isn’t theoretical — it’s real.
When it comes to cancer, time is of the essence. Being informed enough to catch the physical symptoms, or having access to vital resources makes a world of difference for those entering the fight. This Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, take a moment to become better informed about this disease or find ways to contribute to the impacted community. Here at Event 360, we’ll be celebrating in our own way, by continuing our collaboration with the amazing team at PanCAN. The road ahead is long, but each step forward is worth its weight in gold. We know that we all have roles that we can play, in word and deed, as we dream up a world in which cancer is a thing of the past.
If you’re interested in learning more about PanCAN and their phenomenal work, please click here.