About


“This is the cancer we are going to crack in the next decade. And I really feel that through the efforts of this organization that this is where it’s going to happen.”
— Diane Simeone, MD, New York University; Chair-Elect, Scientific and Medical Advisory Board


The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) is dedicated to fighting the world’s toughest cancer. In our urgent mission to save lives, we attack pancreatic cancer on all fronts: research, clinical initiatives, patient services and advocacy. Our effort is amplified by a nationwide network of grassroots support. We are determined to improve patient outcomes today and to double survival by 2020.

The five-year survival has increased one percentage point every year over the past three years and is now 9 percent. Those three percentage points represent approximately 1,500 mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, sisters, brothers, colleagues and friends.

Why We Wage Hope

Pancreatic cancer kills more Americans than breast cancer and has a five-year survival rate of just 9 percent. The disease is the third leading cause of cancer-related death, and it is projected to become the second around 2020. We are fighting five key challenges:

  • PS17_AboutPanCAN_research-resource-graphic

    Not enough researchers and resources in the field

  • PS17_AboutPanCAN_trial-consent-graphic

    Clinical trials don't match patient needs

  • PS17_AboutPanCAN_low-enrollment-graphic

    Clinical trial enrollment is too low

  • PS17_AboutPanCAN_doctor-graphic

    Many doctors lack experience treating the disease

  • PS17_AboutPanCAN_ribbon-graphic

    Lack of public awareness about the disease

We have a carefully considered plan of attack. PurpleStride fundraising which will help us raise $200 million by 2020, will help ensure that we’re able to meet these challenges head on.

How We Wage Hope


Wage Hope is our rallying cry that expresses the spirit behind everything we do. This is not the “cross your fingers” kind of hope. It’s a hope with teeth. Hope doesn’t always mean action, but action is our middle name. And our hope delivers a plan of attack. We shape policy, mold opinion and firm up funding. We don’t take no for an answer. We deliver a message of hope loud and clear through four key areas.
We pioneer and push science forward through our nationally acclaimed grants program, clinical initiatives and the cultivation of a thriving research community.
We revolutionize the approach to treating pancreatic cancer by connecting patients with the latest treatment options and providing free, in-depth disease information.
We demand federal funding for research and advocate for legislative support by lifting our voices to keep pancreatic cancer at the forefront on Capitol Hill.
We lead and activate communities across the globe into a purple tide of humanity that draws greater awareness and funds for the disease.

Moving the Needle

From our beginning as a three-person nonprofit to our role today as the nationwide network supporting the pancreatic cancer community, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has made significant progress fighting this deadly disease—thanks in large part to change agents like you. Here are a few of the things we’ve achieved together.
  • 1999

    The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network was founded by Pamela Acosta Marquardt, Paula Kim and Terry Lierman.

  • 2000

    Inaugural One Voice Against Cancer advocacy days held in Washington, D.C.

  • 2002

    40 volunteer affiliates established nationwide who raised nearly $364,000

  • 2006

    Government Affairs & Advocacy office opens in Washington, D.C., and first international affiliate launches in Japan

  • 2007

    25,000 patients and caregivers have been served by our call center

  • 2008

    Established the Deadliest Cancers Coalition focused on addressing policy issues related to cancers that have five-year relative survival rates below 50 percent

  • 2011

    Since 2003, we funded 66 research grants, representing a cumulative investment of approximately $10 million

  • 2012

    Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act signed into law requiring the National Cancer Institute to develop a strategic plan on how to fight pancreatic cancer

  • 2013

    Nearly 82,000 people participated in our PurpleStride run/walk events that raised $10.5 million

  • 2014

    Launched Know Your Tumor® precision medicine service that uses molecular profiling to provide patients and their doctors with information about the biology of their tumor

  • 2015

    Launched Clinical Trial Finder online tool with access to the most comprehensive and up-to-date database of pancreatic cancer clinical trials in the U.S.

  • 2016

    Led the creation of the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition representing 40 pancreatic cancer advocacy groups from around the globe

    Launched Patient Registry, a global online database created to look for patterns in treatments, side effect management and diagnostics that will lead to improved treatment options and outcomes for patients

    Launched Precision Promise, the first large-scale precision medicine trial for pancreatic cancer patients