CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- By the time you discover pancreatic cancer, chances for survival are slim. It's the fourth leading cancer killer in the U.S.
But very little funding is designated for research. So some local advocates are making it their mission to change that, starting in the nation's capitol.
"It was a real shock for us, the worst nightmare that anybody can imagine," said Anna Hilton.
One most people don't survive. Anna Hilton was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year. She caught it in the early stages and was able to have surgery, something that happens in only about 15 percent of cases.
She says her prognosis looks good. "Here I am, I'm one of the lucky ones."
Very lucky. The five year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is only six percent.
Teresa Warren lost her husband three years ago to pancreatic cancer. He's among the whopping 94 percent of patients who don't make it.
"My daughter was pregnant and she had the baby three weeks to the day and even today I think he should have been here seeing this, he was so excited about this baby," said Teresa.
Now Teresa is turning her grief into a mission to help others. She's traveling to Washington, D.C. next week to lobby those who can help make a difference in this fight when it comes to funding and research.
"There are actually eight people from Chattanooga area going we are meeting with our Senators and our Representatives to let them know about a bill we want to get passed the pancreatic cancer and research act," she explains.
The bill is known as Senate Bill 362 and HR 733 and would require the National Cancer Institute to develop a long term and comprehensive strategy plan for improving survival rates for the disease.
"This cancer is the fourth leading cancer killer, but it only gets two percent of the budget," notes Teresa.
Pancreatic cancer advocates say they can't do this alone. They need the public's help in this mission to save lives. So they are asking you to join them on June 26th for the National Call-In to encourage your representatives to support this legislation.
"I don't want any family to ever go through this if there is anything I can do to help. I'm willing to do that," said Teresa.
"I look at life differently my family is more important than anything to me," explains Anna Hilton.
Anna says she knows she's one of the lucky ones. And knows she's still here to help make a difference in the fight against pancreatic cancer.
For complete details on the National Call-In go to www.pancan.org/takeaction