A representative from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network made an emotional presentation to Delaware County commissioners on Monday in support of a resolution to declare Nov. 13 World Pancreatic Cancer Day.
Cathy Schwandt, a survivor of both pancreatic cancer and breast cancer, presented the resolution to the commission, which unanimously approved it.
“I’m a three-year survivor of pancreatic cancer, so this touches me deeply; and I’m on my way to meet a lady who’s a nine-year survivor,” Schwandt told commissioners. “By declaring World Pancreatic Cancer Day in Delaware County, you’re helping us do the critical work of raising awareness of this deadly disease. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is a national organization, creating hope through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure.”
Schwandt, a volunteer coordinator for the Pancreatic Action Network, told commissioners that by the end of 2015, an estimated 48,960 people will be diagnosed with the disease in the United States, and some 40,560 will die from it. About 1,720 Ohioans will die from pancreatic cancer in 2015, according to Schwandt.
She said pancreatic cancer is currently the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S., and is expected to become the second-leading cause by 2020. The disease is the seventh most common cause of cancer-related death among both men and women worldwide. An estimated 367,000 new pancreatic cancer cases will be diagnosed globally this year.
Schwandt also noted that generally when pancreatic cancer is diagnosed, it is already in its late stages. She said that 73 percent of patients die within the first year of diagnosis and 93 percent die within the first five years.
“(Pancreatic cancer) is the least funded of the top five deadliest cancers,” she said. “So we appreciate the recognition. Ohio is the sixth-leading state in pancreatic cancer deaths in the country.”
Schwandt encouraged commissioners, as well as others in the gallery at Monday’s meeting, to wear purple on Nov. 13 to show their support for pancreatic cancer research.
For information about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, visit https://www.pancan.org/.