“Deborah Benoit, 28, mother of four, died…2010.”
This was the lead Letter to the Editor in the Villager on Friday. Deborah lives in Putnam and has a “slow moving” form of pancreatic cancer. She published her own death notice in advance with a plea for higher research funding for pancreatic cancer. She points out in her letter that while the average 5-year survival rate is 92 percent for women with breast cancer, the 5-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients is a dismal 5 percent. She provides the following website www.pancan.org/Public/take.html where readers can show their support for the National Plan to Advance Pancreatic Cancer Research Act of 2008 (HR 7045), a bill introduced to congress by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL). Deborah is not asking for support of this bill for herself; she is asking for this support “for the children of all patients facing an untimely death from this disease” stating that “they are the ones who are the real victims.”
Based on my understanding, support of this bill is even more justified than it may seem on the surface. In the last decade there has been significant progress in treating certain cancers like breast cancer, colon cancer, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia because of modern drugs like Herceptin (from Genentech) and even newer drugs like Erbitux (from Imclone), Tarceva (from Genentech) and Gleevec (from Novartis).
Only about 15 years ago cancer therapy entered a new era owing to advances in understanding of the nature of cellular events involved in the process of carcinogenesis and tumor growth. Biologically targeted therapies like those mentioned above are now used as part of a regimen to treat breast, colon cancer, and other cancers. But these modern treatments are rarely effective against pancreatic cancer. Read the rest of this entry »