Opinion: Help fight pancreatic cancer

By Kristin Vander Kam

This past week, legendary saxophone player and jazz musician James Moody lost his 10-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He spent the latter part of his life in San Diego and will be missed by fans in the community and across the country.

Unfortunately, stories where a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is paired with a short- term survival rate is not uncommon. In fact, 75 percent of patients die within the first year of diagnosis and the five-year survival rate is just 6 percent because there are no early detection tools and few effective treatments for this disease. Despite these statistics, pancreatic cancer is the least funded among leading cancer killers in our country.

I lost my father to pancreatic cancer on Dec. 12, 2007. He was just 61 years old and was diagnosed only six months before his passing. I fight for him and the thousands more who no longer have a voice because of this terrible disease.

I am a volunteer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, a national organization fighting pancreatic cancer in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure. I encourage everyone to get involved in the fight against pancreatic cancer. To learn how easy it is to make a difference, please visit


or call 877-272-6226.



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