Tags: Cancer | cancer | pancreas | Congress | spending

Group Presses For Pancreatic Cancer Funding

Image: Group Presses For Pancreatic Cancer Funding
(Photo Courtesy of Robert Glazier)

By Charlotte Libov   |   Tuesday, 20 Jun 2017 03:46 PM

A group of 650 pancreatic cancer advocates fanned out across Capitol Hill today, calling upon their Congressional representatives to provide more research funding for the disease.

 “We are very excited as this year’s National Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day has the largest attendance in its 10 year history,” said Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of PanCAN, the nonprofit organization sponsoring the event.

“There was tremendous energy in the room as we gave everyone the final send-off before they headed to their meetings on the Hill,” she said of the group, which included about 100 pancreatic cancer survivors.

In addition, thousands of PanCAN members, including those who might be too ill to travel to Washington, D.C., are making telephone calls from their home, Fleshman has said.

Pancreatic cancer the third biggest cancer killer in the U.S. after lung and colon cancer, the American Cancer Society says.

PanCAN, along with scores of other nonprofit organizations, is fighting a bid by the Trump administration to cut about 21 percent from the budget of the National Institutes of Health, the federal health agency that oversees government funded medical research.

Robert S. Glazier, who traveled from his home in Miami to meet with his Florida Congressional representatives, is among the PanCAN group.

By mid-afternoon, he had already met with Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), as well as staffers for Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)  and meetings with Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and a staffer for  Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) office were next.

This year marks Glazier’s fourth in fighting the disease, outliving six-to-12 months prognosis that he was originally given.

“Everyone I’ve met with is polite. Some are completely supportive, others are more vague, saying the funding depends on budget considerations, but we try to stress that this research should be a priority and funding shouldn’t be decreased."

While he’s hopeful that there won’t be a decrease in research spending, he questions whether there will be an increase.

“Our members in every state will be following up with their Congress people to let them know this is a matter of continuing importance,” he says.

Also, while Glazier was delighted to participate in the event, the experience is bittersweet, he noted.

“Last year was my first year at this event and I remember making the point that I had no idea if I would be here today. Today, I made that same point, because, as I looked through photos from last year, I could see we’ve lost a lot of people.”

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Pancreatic cancer patients are on Capitol Hill today seeking spending for research dollars to fight their disease.
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