Silent and aggressive.
Those are two words commonly used to describe pancreatic cancer, a deadly disease that will strike 44,000 Americans this year. That same disease will claim 37,000 lives.
It has just a 6 percent five-year survival rate, the lowest among all major cancer killers. And according to a recent report, the number of deaths attributed to the disease is on the rise, and it’s anticipated to become the second-largest cancer killer in the United States by 2020.
According to the Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Foundation, an organization committed to raising public awareness and understanding of pancreatic cancer, the disease is one of the most difficult to detect and diagnose early. In most cases, symptoms develop after the cancer has already spread, resulting in a diagnosis that is made when the cancer is in advanced stages.
Sadly, advocates who work to promote research of the deadly disease say it is under-represented and under-funded.
But that’s where groups like the Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Foundation come in. The organization’s mission, like so many others like it, is to reach the community with information about pancreatic cancer and make an impact to stimulate research for early detection and advance cancer treatment for pancreatic cancer.
Efforts don’t stop there. There is a bill before the U.S. Senate called the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act (formerly known as the Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act) that addresses better allocation of funding for pancreatic cancer and other abdominal cancers.
Earlier this year, when the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the bill, Julie Fleshman, president and chief executive officer of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, applauded the move, calling it a “victory” and “a testament to what can be achieved when a group of people are fiercely determined to accomplish a common goal.”
“While we still have much work to do before making verifiable scientific advances against pancreatic cancer, this is an extremely important step forward,” Fleshman said. “Today, we have given tomorrow’s patients hope.”
Hope. That’s an encouraging word among such bitter statistics.
Hope for more funding.
Hope for more research.
Hope for a cure.
We hope more people take the time to learn about the disease. It’s especially important in November, which is recognized as National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
Cancer, no matter what type, can be a devastating diagnosis. And until there is a cure, work remains to be done.
That’s what makes the groups, volunteers and agencies working to promote the need for more research and funding so critical. Their tireless efforts will ultimately make a difference in the lives of those who are diagnosed with any form of cancer.
The Senate version of the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act will be considered in this lame-duck session of Congress. We hope it is passed swiftly, giving even more hope to those patients who need it.
Silent and aggressive.
Laws to keep mudslinging to minimum can stife free speech
By nature, and by profession, we do not like lies. As journalists, we’re truth tellers. Or at least we attempt to get at the truth through research, attribution, documents and comments from people on either side of an issue.
Sometimes it ends up with “telling lies from both sides,” as a crusty reporter once mused a handful of years ago.
COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay
Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.
The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings
During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.
Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated
Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
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