House unanimously adopts Matzie resolution designating November 2018 as ‘Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month’ in Pa.

HARRISBURG, Oct. 9 – The House today unanimously adopted H.R. 1127, designating November 2018 as “Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania, according to the resolution’s sponsor, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny.

“Pancreatic cancer is currently the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States,” Matzie said. “By 2020, it’s expected to become the second-leading cause. We have to find a way to reverse that trend.

“I’ve always said that this fight is personal to me because my mother is a pancreatic cancer survivor,” Matzie said. “Earlier this year, the fight became personal for all of us here in the Capitol when it claimed the life of our beloved colleague, state Representative Flo Fabrizio. Flo never gave up in the face of difficult odds, and neither will we. I plan to keep raising public awareness about this disease and keep fighting for greater funding for medical research so that one day, we’ll find a cure for this insidious killer. In the meantime, we can hope to save lives by increasing public awareness about the importance of early detection.”

Matzie said the disease is difficult to diagnose early because tumors can’t be seen or felt during routine exams. Additionally, patients may not experience symptoms until the cancer has already spread to their lymph nodes or other organs. At that point, surgery often is not possible, which accounts for the disease’s survival rate of less than 10 percent.

Because early detection can mean the difference between life and death, Matzie urges everyone to talk to their doctors if they experience symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal or back pain, weight loss, changes in stool, nausea, pancreatitis or recent-onset diabetes.

According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, more than 55,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2018, and more than 44,000 are expected to die. The network reports that clinical trials – when a patient is eligible – may offer the best hope for a positive outcome.