Libby Znaimer Named to the Board of Directors Pancreatic Cancer Canada
November 2010

$100,000 Gift For Promising Research Caps Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Pancreatic Cancer Canada (PCC) named Libby Znaimer to the Foundation’s board of directors. The veteran broadcaster, author and host of the popular Zoomer Report on Toronto’s New Classical 96.3 FM and The New AM 740, has been serving as PCC’s national spokesperson. She is a survivor of both breast and pancreatic cancer (the latter diagnosed in July 2008). “I’m here to tell you that there is hope” she says. “It is possible to thrive after this diagnosis but we must support more research for early detection and better treatments.”

Laurie Ellies, Executive Director of PCC says, “Libby has been instrumental in helping us raise the profile of pancreatic cancer and has been an inspiration to those who are currently battling this silent killer. One reason there is so little awareness is there are so few survivors to champion the cause and push for more research.”

PCC is capping off Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month with a $100,000 donation to fund promising research into early detection of the most lethal form of cancer. The cheque was presented to surgeon and researcher Dr. Steven Gallinger of the University Health Network for initiatives including the development of a new MRI technology to detect tiny tumours before they become deadly. “We’re very excited, we have a prototype,” says Gallinger. “A pancreatic cancer tumour grows for 10-12 years before we can see it on an MRI. If we could pick it up just a year or two earlier, that may be the critical window.”

According to Pancreatic Cancer Canada, about 4000 Canadians are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year and the statistics are dismal. Only 15-20 percent of those afflicted will be alive after 12 months, and a mere 6 percent will survive five years. The disease is often referred to as a “silent killer” because typically no symptoms emerge until it is at a very advanced stage. Right now, surgery offers the only chance for a cure, but only a tiny percentage of patients are diagnosed early enough to be eligible. There is no method of early detection, no prevention, and no proven treatment. It is the fourth largest cause of death from cancer, yet in Canada, pancreatic cancer gets less than 1% of the funds earmarked for cancer research. PCC is the only national foundation dedicated to fighting pancreatic cancer. PCC supports the research to discover a screening test that will enable medical diagnosis at an earlier and more treatable stage.

PCC is also launching a guide for newly-diagnosed patients which includes a listing of hospitals that specialize in pancreatic cancer surgery across the country. “Patients are expected to take in a huge amount of complicated information right after they’ve received devastating news,” says Znaimer. “This will help them focus on what they need to know to get the best possible treatment.”

To support pancreatic cancer early detection research, donations can be made to Pancreatic Cancer Canada,