Golf legend Gary Player was in Omaha Tuesday to join the University of Nebraska Medical Center in “declaring war” on pancreatic cancer, the 3rd-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
UNMC is one of leading institutions in the world in the fight against pancreatic cancer, which still eludes effective early detection but is no longer incurable.
Player, who lost his mother to cancer at age 9 and his wife to pancreatic cancer, told a news conference that “We’ve got to have perseverance. We can’t say ‘can’t.’ We have to believe we can do something.”
Dr Sunil Hingorani, an internationally-recognized pancreatic cancer researcher and clinician who will become first director of the UNMC Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence on July 1, said the #1 barrier to curing it is the lack of belief it can be beaten.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal and aggressive forms of cancer with about 62,000 new cases expected this year with a 5-year survival rate of 5.1% – 1.8% if its spread to other organs/
UNMC is ramping up its research on early detection, more effective treatments, and preventative measures.
The Nebraska Legislature approved a $15-million dollar 1-to-1 state match for private donations to the UNMC program while the National Cancer Institute has awarded over $8-million dollars in annual grants.
As part of its research, UNMC has a unique program that tests individuals considered at high risk for pancreatic cancer twice a year at no cost to them.