Flanked by the wife of the late actor and cancer victim Patrick Swayze, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo today celebrated the passage of a law that requires the federal government to fight harder against the most deadly cancers.
Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, co-sponsored the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, which was signed by President Barack Obama on Jan. 3.
The law directs the National Cancer Institute to focus on early detection and treatment of cancers with very low survival rates -- including pancreatic cancer, which has the lowest survival rate of the five major cancers.
"A very dear friend of mine, Ambassador Richard Sklar, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer," Eshoo said at a news conference at Stanford Hospital this morning. "It really took a toll on us, and when I asked why I haven't heard from (victims) about this, he said, 'becausethey're all dead.'
Eshoo continued, "Pancreatic cancer is one of the recalcitrant cancers -- one that is essentially a death sentence."
The congresswoman said the law is meant to push such cancers to the frontlines of research.
According to Eshoo, pancreatic cancer has the lowest five-year survival rate of all the major cancers, at just 6 percent. Seventy-five percent of victims die within the first year of their diagnosis, she said.
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