MILTON, Ga. – Mayor Joe Lockwood proclaimed November to be Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month at the regular City Council meeting Monday, Nov. 4.
Lockwood said he wanted to do more than recognize November for pancreatic cancer; he dedicated the proclamation to coach Mike Scott, who died in December 2012 at age 36, less than two months after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
“I’d like to make this more than just a proclamation on a terrible disease and cancer, but also bring it in perspective of a personal loss we all had,” Lockwood said.
Coach Scott was a teacher and football coach at Milton High School. His wife Mary Jane Scott spoke at the City Council meeting and shared the words his players had used to describe him, “tough, loyal, hilarious, passionate, fun-loving, supportive, legendary, mentor, role model, best friend and father.”
“Mike faced his pending death with wit, grace, dignity and an unyielding faith that has inspired me to be a better woman and has made me so proud to have been his wife,” she said. “He was as strong and fearless in death as he was in life.”
Pancreatic cancer is currently the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. and is projected by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to become the second leading cause by 2020. The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2013 there would be 45,220 new cases of pancreatic cancer and 38,460 deaths from the disease. Of the patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, 73 percent of them will die within the first year and only 6 percent will live longer than five years after diagnosis.
There are limited treatment options for people diagnosed with the disease. In some cases surgery is an option, in others chemotherapy and radiation. There are Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs, however the National Comprehensive Cancer Network states in their guidelines for treatment that clinical trials are the preferred treatment option.
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network calls pancreatic cancer the most under-funded, under-recognized and under-researched cancer, stating that only 2 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s annual budget goes toward pancreatic cancer.
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has a local Atlanta affiliation that hosts the Purple Stride, a 5K walk/run to raise awareness and funds. Purple Stride took place Nov. 9 at Centennial Park.
The original fundraising goal was $220,000, but they surpassed that goal and upped it to $250,000.
Tina Sant, who works for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, said they just want people to be more aware.
For more on the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, visit them online at www.pancan.org.