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County Executive’s Column: July 17, 2009

Dome Illumination to Raise Awareness of Pancreatic Cancer

This month, Nassau County, in cooperation with the Lustgarten Foundation, is hosting a ceremony and building illumination for Pancreatic Cancer Research. Over 37,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year –which is why our goal is to raise awareness in order to prevent and fight this disease. According to the National Cancer Institute, the overall 5-year relative survival rate for 1999-2005 was 5.5 percent. We must work together to thwart pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is rarely discovered early. There are no warning signs and screening tests are often ineffective. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer is not usually found until it spreads to other parts of the body. Out of all the people who have pancreatic cancer, 90 percent are above the age 55 and 70 percent are older than 65. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of death in both genders.

Fortunately, new technologies and treatments are starting to change these numbers –but more research is needed.

There are many factors that could make a person more susceptible to pancreatic cancer, such as smoking, age, obesity, diet and family history. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, many factors are inherently avoided! The most important thing you can do, besides maintaining a healthy lifestyle, is to go for regular checkups. Don’t forget to mention any family history of pancreatic cancer to your doctor.

The event will be held on Monday, July 20 at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola, and when there is sufficient darkness, all in attendance will gather outside for the official illumination of the building’s dome. This event is a salute to pancreatic cancer survivors and a mandate for all of us to carry the message of the importance of early detection and awareness.

I invite everyone to come to our building illumination and ceremony to help raise awareness for pancreatic cancer, and of course to pay our respects to those who have fought or are fighting pancreatic cancer.

Guests are invited to arrive at 5 p.m. for light refreshments. All are invited to attend. For further information, or to RSVP, please call 516-571-3116.