I’d like to welcome each of you to the inaugural newsletter for the Gastric Cancer Fund! We launched the organization just a few short months ago and are now working as quickly as we can to build a community of support to fight this terrible disease. Distributed quarterly, this newsletter will hopefully help keep you informed about the key activities surrounding the organization, provide updates on research studies and clinical trials, as well as provide tips for not only surviving, but hopefully thriving with gastric cancer.
Since launching the organization, it has been both comforting and empowering to connect with survivors, as well as loved ones of both survivors and those who have lost their life to the disease. We all share the common passion to fight the disease and make sure we do everything we can to slow, and eventually stop it from ruining our lives or the lives of our loved ones.
Many of you know that gastric cancer affects approximately 22,000 Americans a year and half of those people will die from the disease this year, which puts it in the top 10 cancer killers in America. What you might not know is that certain types of gastric cancers, such as those that arise at the gastric esophageal junction (GEJ), are among the most rapidly increasing cancers in the US. Looking outside the US is even more concerning, as gastric cancer is the #2 cancer killer worldwide.
Even with all these sobering statistics, recent analysis by the American Cancer Society revealed that gastric cancer receives the least federal funding of any type of cancer. Literally, the LEAST of all types of cancers! For every cancer-related death, only $1,168 federal research dollars are spent on gastric cancer, versus $18,870 for cancer of the cervix and $14,095 for breast cancer. A primary reason for this is due to the fact that that other cancers benefit from advocacy groups and foundations that are skilled at raising awareness, which in turn drives funding considerations.
While political advocacy and lobbying Washington are longer term aspirations, we can do several things right now to help create change. First, spread the word about our organization and drive people to our website. In less than 100 days, we’re already received over 10,000 hits to our site from over 25 different countries. Although this is great news, we need to do more. Please share this information with your family, friends and most importantly your medical team, as they are in the best position to point people in need to this website. Secondly, if you haven’t already done so, please consider supporting the organization financially. We need financial support to build out the gastric cancer registry and fund researchers to analyze it. If you are not in a position to give, please consider hosting an event, or get involved in some other way. We have several ideas about how to get involved on the web.
Together, we are embarking on a journey that won’t be quick or easy (hmmm…sounds like cancer!), but we can do something special and make a difference in our lives and/or the lives and memories of our loved ones. If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In health and gratitude,
Chairman, Gastric Cancer Fund Board of Directors