Pancreatic cancer awareness among Americans is increasing, according to a survey commissioned by the Manhattan Beach-based Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

When respondents were asked in December to name the first five types of cancer that came to mind, 24 percent mentioned pancreatic cancer, up from 19 percent the previous year, and 13 percent of those asked had heard of PanCAN, a nonprofit organization that fights the disease via research, clinical initiatives, patient services and advocacy.

“This trend toward increased familiarity of pancreatic cancer and PanCAN is encouraging,” said Julie Fleshman, the group’s president and CEO. “Awareness plays an important role in meeting our goals to improve patient outcomes and double survival by 2020. Greater awareness means more people know about pancreatic cancer signs and symptoms, where to find specialists and how to obtain the very best treatment options, like clinical trials.”

The greatest surges in awareness occurred with female respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, and among individuals who live in the Northeast.

In a previous wave of the survey last May, 12 percent of females in that age range named pancreatic cancer when asked to name five types of cancer. That number more than doubled to 25 percent in December.

Regionally, awareness of the disease among respondents in the Northeast increased from 23 percent to 34 percent.

“I especially commend our amazing volunteers across the country for their efforts in raising awareness about pancreatic cancer in communities nationwide,” Fleshman said. “This survey shows that we’re also on the right track in educating people about PanCAN and the services we provide to patients and caregivers.”

A total of 683 interviews were completed in December. In order to qualify for study inclusion, respondents had to be 18 or older and have donated a minimum of $25 and/or five hours of time to a charity in the past year. The margin of error for the research was plur or minus 4.3 percent.

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