Our MissionThe Sandler-Kenner Foundation was started by Gregory A. Echt, M.D. and his wife, Susan T. Echt, after they lost two of their dear friends, Michael and Peter, to premature deaths from pancreatic cancer. Learn More
Research & NewsThe statistics surrounding pancreatic cancer offer a grim diagnosis for many patients; a result of limited diagnostic tools and treatment options. And while funds for cancer research are raised Learn More
How You Can HelpJoin us in the fight to end pancreatic cancer. Through the generous support of our donors, we hope to find a cure for pancreatic cancer. We welcome all levels of donation
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Foundation LeadershipThe Sandler-Kenner Foundation’s medical and scientific funding decisions are guided in part by its Foundation Leadership and Scientific Advisory Board members.The foundation was established in 2007. Foundation Leadership
About The Foundation
According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 78 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in their lifetime; a rate that has been steadily climbing since the year 2000. In fact, pancreatic cancer continues to be the focus of much research as many experts believe that it is projected to become the second leading cause of cancer death – behind lung cancer – in the U.S. by the year 2020. Pancreatic cancer -as with all other types of cancer – is treated most successfully in the early stages of the disease; which makes early diagnosis of critical concern. To that end, the Sandler-Kenner Foundation is committed to raising awareness and supporting the advancement of early detection and diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. The Foundation was started by Gregory A. Echt, M.D. and his wife, Susan T. Echt and named for their dear friends Michael Sandler and Peter Kenner – two men who lost their lives to pancreatic cancer – as so many do – because the disease was diagnosed long past the time when treatment would have had any opportunity for success. It is with these men in mind – as well as the thousands like them – that we continually strive to improve the research about pancreatic cancer; research that is the key to improving the ability to detect and identify this notoriously difficult to diagnose disease. Earlier detection methods provides the opportunity for a faster, more aggressive treatment that will literally save and extend lives; a dramatic improvement for a disease that currently has an average three to six month survival rate following diagnosis.
Pancreatic Cancer Facts: Knowing Can Make a Difference
It is estimated that only about 2 percent of federal money dedicated to the fight against cancer is earmarked for pancreatic cancer research annually. Yet, as the American Cancer Society points out, an estimated 1 in 78 people will be diagnosed with this form of the disease at some point during their lives. Approximately 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer annually with about 41,000 deaths attributed to the cause.
With a five-year survival rate of around 7 percent, the urgency to raise pancreatic cancer awareness is clear. In addition to hoping to boosting efforts to improve treatments, create methods that better enable early detection and find a cure, pancreatic cancer organizations are often dedicated to using a portion of their funds for educational purposes. By providing important pancreatic cancer information, associations dedicated to fighting this disease strive to ensure those diagnosed and those at-risk are able to make informed decisions.
Here are just a few of the pancreatic cancer facts organizations dedicated to stopping this disease want people to know:
The Risk Factors
Understanding personal risk factors can be critical for helping prevent this disease and also for improving early diagnosis chances should the disease arise. Some of the biggest risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:
- Smoking – The American Cancer Society estimates about 20 to 30 percent of pancreatic cancers are believed to be connected to cigarette smoking. Pipe and cigar use also increase risk.
- Obesity – People who are considered very overweight are estimated to be about 20 percent more likely of developing pancreatic cancer.
- Age – Most people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are older than age 45 with about two-thirds at least 65.
- Gender – Men are just slightly more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
- Diabetes – People with diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, are at higher risk.
- Chronic pancreatitis – Long-term inflammation of the pancreas is believed to increase risk, but not all people with pancreatitis develop cancer.
- Family history – When closely related family members have been diagnosed, personal risk may elevate. This is especially so when inherited genetic syndromes are noted.
Why It’s So Hard to Detect Early
There are a number of challenges involved in diagnosing pancreatic cancer in its earliest stages. The location of the pancreas deep within the body is the first. Tumors cannot be felt or seen during routine health exams. Symptoms are also generally non-existent in earlier stages, complicating matters even more. In most cases, pancreatic cancer is not detected until it has spread to other organs.
With no widely used or accepted early screening procedure available for this form of cancer, such as those used for prostate and breast cancers, it is especially important for people to know their personal risk factors. People who are at high risk may find tests, such as endoscopic ultrasounds, helpful in early detection.
As researchers continue to seek new ways to improve the pancreatic cancer survival rate, organizations battling this disease are working to raise awareness, as well. Understanding personal risks can empower people to take steps that may lower their chances of developing this often fatal form of cancer as pancreatic cancer research continues toward a cure.
At the Sandler-Kenner Foundation, we strongly believe that these statistics are unacceptable; and we are committed to helping change the landscape of pancreatic cancer research. But we can’t do it without your support. We ask that you join with us to affect real change and offer hope for those who have been diagnosed – and will be diagnosed – with pancreatic cancer.