If any good comes from the passing of Steve Jobs earlier this fall metro Atlanta resident, Kelly Smith, hopes it's the awareness it will bring about pancreatic cancer.
Smith lost her own mother to the disease last year - just eight days after her pancreatic tumor was found. The devastating loss has made Smith a vocal advocate for raising awareness and, hopefully, pancreatic cancer prevention.
"I volunteer because she no longer has a voice," Smith said. "More public awareness of this disease will lead to increased funding for research which, in the end, will lead to a cure."
A lack of pre-screening methods or effective treatment options have made pancreatic cancer the fouth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.
Here are some more key facts about pancreatic cancer:
- Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of any major cancer. Ninety-four percent of pancreatic cancer patients will die within five years of diagnosis – only six percent will survive more than five years. Seventy-four percent of patients die within the first year of diagnosis.
- There are no early diagnostic tools and there is no cure.
- This year, an estimated 44,030 Americans were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 37,660 will die from the disease.
- It is the most under-funded, under-recognized and least-studied of all major cancer killers with only two percent of the National Cancer Institute’s annual budget dedicated to pancreatic cancer research.
"We must take action to ensure scientific progress is made to give pancreatic cancer patients a fighting chance," Smith said.
To help raise awareness, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network will host the fifth annual PurpleStride Atlanta. The event, a 5K family run/walk honoring family and friends who have been lost to the disease, takes place from 7:30 a.m.-11 a.m. at on Nov. 19.