Congressman Leonard Lance joined pancreatic activists yesterday to announce the introduction of the "Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act." Lance and U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) unveiled the legislation Wednesday at a Capitol Hill press conference.
Also in attendance were Lisa Swayze, wife of the late Patrick Swayze who died of pancreatic cancer, Julie Fleishman, President of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PCAN) and NewJersey PCAN activists Michael Weinstein and Todd Cohen.
"Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths. It is a disease without any cure or means of early detection," Lance said. "The Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act seeks to bring a greater focus on this disease while giving researchers the tools and resources they need to develop treatments and hopefully cures for pancreatic cancer patients."
The Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act will establish a national Pancreatic Cancer Initiative, creating a strategic plan for targeting the disease and giving NCI the tools it needs for earlier diagnosis, better treatment, and hope for a cure. Lance is introducing the bill along with Sen. Whitehouse and fellow House colleague and pancreatic cancer champion Rep.Anna Eshoo (D-CA).
"We are extremely excited that Representative Lance got involved with the Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act," said Cohen who serves as New Jersey's PCAN media representative. "This disease took the life of my father, and many of my friends have battled it as well. It is good to see others that are suffering from this disease have a light at the end of the tunnel."
During the press conference Lance praised Millburn (NJ) resident and PCAN activist Michael Weinstein. As a pancreatic cancer survivor Michael has not only survived but thrived for nearly five years devoting much of his energy to the New Jersey chapter of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
"Because of people like Michael Weinstein and Todd Cohen and thousands of others it imperative that Congress work in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion on reducing the mortality rate for pancreaticcancer," Lance concluded.
Rep. Lance is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee responsible for legislation affecting Medicare,Medicaid, the National Institutes of Health, health-based environmental laws, children's health, biotechnology, and food and drug safety.