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Pancreatic cancer fight should be U.S. priority
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Editor, Sen. Johnny Isakson has championed many causes since becoming a member of Congress, first as a representative and now as a senator. Now is a critical time that we need Sen. Isakson to support a cause essential to me and other Georgians who have been affected by pancreatic cancer.
Losing both our mothers to pancreatic cancer within a span of three years has had a  devastating impact on my life and that of my husband. Other than age, neither of our moms had any of the predispositions putting them at risk for pancreatic cancer. This leads us to believe it can happen to anyone! It is heartbreaking when faced with a diagnosis such as pancreatic cancer, which has no preventative screening method and very limited treatment options.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States and Georgia, killing about 35,000 Americans each year. While overall cancer five-year survival rates have increased from 50 percent to 66 percent in the past 30 years, the chances of someone surviving pancreatic cancer remains a slim 5 percent. However, our federal cancer research enterprise has not made this cancer a priority. Currently, only two percent of the National Cancer Institute budget is spent on finding early detection tools and effective treatments for this merciless killer.
We need these dire statistics to change and Sen. Isakson can help by championing the  Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act in the Senate. This bill calls for a long-term plan and an investment of dollars to help save lives. A companion bill has already been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives (HR 745).
We need someone with the leadership skills and know-how to get this bill through the Senate; someone who can represent the interests of the thousands of Georgians who have been impacted by this disease. Sen. Isakson should be that leader.

Beth and Dirk Stevenson
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