INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - President Barack Obama made history in the fight against pancreatic cancer by signing the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act into law recently. The legislation, formerly known as the Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act, passed the U.S. Congress on December 21 after it was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act.The landmark legislation requires the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to examine its current research efforts on cancers with very low survival rates and work to develop early detection methods and better treatment options to help improve outcomes for those diagnosed with the most deadly forms of cancer, including pancreatic and lung cancer."The adoption of the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act is a historic victory in the fight against deadly cancers - particularly pancreatic cancer - as it is the first legislation designed specifically with the disease in mind," said Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. "On behalf of thousands of pancreatic cancer advocates and patients around the country, we are deeply grateful for the incredible bipartisan support in Congress and to President Obama for signing the bill into law. Above all, this legislation provides hope for pancreatic cancer patients and their loved ones. Today we celebrate this important step, but we do so while honoring the memory of so many people whose lives were cut short by pancreatic cancer."Locally in the advocacy effort, the tireless work of several Incline Village residents and other passionate Nevadans whose lives have been touched by this disease helped keep this legislation in our Congressmen and Senators' view over the past four years. Sens. Harry Reid and Dean Heller were co-sponsors of the Senate version of the bill, and Congressman Mark Amodei co-sponsored in the House."Volunteers tirelessly reached out to their elected officials with phone calls, emails, personal visits to their offices locally and in Washington, D.C., and obtained proclamations to let it be known that Pancreatic cancer does not have an early detection method or effective treatment options, and that the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act needed to be passed into law", said Ginnie Jed, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's Northern Nevada/Lake Tahoe Community Representative.The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act requires the NCI to establish scientific frameworks for pancreatic cancer and other deadly cancers. These frameworks will help to identify scientific advancements, evaluate the sufficiency of researchers, and outline a plan for ongoing research. The bill is a balanced approach that complements current research at the NCI and includes recommendations to advance research and measure progress through appropriate benchmarks.The NCI will be encouraged to rigorously evaluate existing research efforts and examine how well they are supporting progress in the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of these deadly cancers.Currently, pancreatic cancer does not have an early detection method or effective treatment options, which is why President Obama's signing this into law means so much to the pancreatic cancer community. This legislation ultimately provides an opportunity to change the future for pancreatic cancer patients.About 44,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year and more than 37,000 will die from the deadly disease. Pancreatic cancer currently has the lowest five-year relative survival rate of all major cancer killers, at just six percent. Because of the lack of early detection methods and effective treatment options, pancreatic cancer is the only one of the current top-five cancer killers for which both the incidence and death rates are increasing in recent years. And a recent report indicates that pancreatic cancer is anticipated to move from the fourth to the second leading cancer killer in the U.S. by 2020 and possibly as early as 2015.
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