House adopts Matzie resolution to keep deadly disease in spotlight

Names November 2019 as ‘Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month’

HARRISBURG, Nov. 19 – Keeping the fight against pancreatic cancer foremost in the public’s mind is the aim of a resolution the House adopted unanimously today, according to the author, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny.

Matzie said he introduced H.R. 566, designating November 2019 as “Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania, to keep the spotlight on a deadly disease for which successful treatment has proven elusive.

“Every year, I introduce a resolution to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer because every year, the statistics on this insidious killer are still moving in the wrong direction,” Matzie said. “This year alone, it’s estimated that more than 45,750 people in the U.S. will die of the disease. That’s a 2% increase over last year.

“There are glimmers of hope, however. Scientists are making new discoveries about the disease and its risk factors, and are developing new screening methods. Advances like this are critical, but they’re possible only through ongoing research. That’s why our advocacy is so important – we need to keep the focus on pancreatic cancer until survival is the rule, not the exception.”

Matzie noted that the disease is a silent killer, often causing no symptoms in its earliest stages and only vague symptoms after that. At the same time, the disease can spread rapidly so that by the time it is diagnosed, it has already attacked nearby blood vessels or organs, making surgery impossible. The five-year survival rate is just 9%.

With early detection meaning the difference between life and death, Matzie urges everyone to see their physician if they experience jaundice, abdominal or back pain, weight loss, changes in stool, nausea, pancreatitis or recent-onset diabetes.