February 20, 2013
SOMERVILLE, NJ — At The Steeplechase Cancer Center at Somerset Medical Center, Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) announced a new law he helped author aimed at developing better treatments and potential cures for the deadliest of cancers. The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, which was signed into law January 2, 2013, requires the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop a long-term strategic plan for developing better treatments and potential cures for the deadliest of cancers, such as pancreatic and lung cancers.
From left: Maureen Schneider, Senior Vice President of Clinical Program Development and Chief Nursing Officer, Somerset Medical Center; Ken Bateman, President and CEO, Somerset Medical Center; Michael Weinstein, Pancreatic Cancer Survivor and Advocacy Coordinator for the New Jersey Affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network; Lisa Niemi Swayze, Chief Ambassador of Hope for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network; Congressman Leonard Lance; Julie Fleshman, President and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
During the Somerville event, Lance was joined by Lisa Niemi Swayze, wife of the late Patrick Swayze and Chief Ambassador of Hope for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Ken Bateman, the president and CEO of Somerset Medical Center, Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and other New Jersey cancer advocates.
“I would like to praise everyone here today for their efforts in the fight against cancer, especially those diagnosed with the deadliest kinds of cancers, such as pancreatic cancer,” said Lance. “While we still don’t know the cause or cure of many cancers, we remain steadfast in our commitment to helping those afflicted with it, fight it. I am honored to have helped enact this important new law that will hopefully mean a brighter future for patients suffering from recalcitrant cancers and their families.”
“My husband Patrick fought courageously against pancreatic cancer before passing away 22 months after his diagnosis. But while pancreatic cancer may have taken him in the end, it never beat him. And for me, just because he’s gone doesn’t mean this fight is over. I am proud to have continued his battle against pancreatic cancer and being a part of this important victory means everything,” stated Lisa Niemi Swayze. “I have been incredibly honored to work side-by-side with so many dedicated and passionate pancreatic cancer advocates, and I know that Patrick would be proud too that he was a part of this fight, one that is going to change the outcome for so many future generations.”
“The adoption of the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act is a historic victory in the fight against deadly cancers—particularly pancreatic cancer—as it is the first legislation designed specifically with the disease in mind. This milestone would not have been possible without the leadership and dedication of Representative Lance. We applaud his tremendous effort to get the bill signed into law, along with our other bill champions Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI),” said Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “This legislation provides hope for pancreatic cancer patients and their loved ones. Today we celebrate this important step, but we do so while honoring the memory of so many people whose lives were cut short by pancreatic cancer.”
“We are extremely proud that Representative Lance chose the Steeplechase Cancer Center as the venue to announce the passage of this landmark legislation,” said Ken Bateman, president and chief executive officer of Somerset Medical Center. “The Steeplechase Cancer Center represents Somerset Medical Center’s commitment to ensuring the residents of New Jersey are afforded the highest quality, comprehensive cancer care available, a commitment we’re honored to share with Representative Lance. We applaud Congressman Lance’s efforts in successfully getting this important bill signed into law, which will significantly impact patients who are faced with deadly cancer diagnoses, and the family and friends who support and care for them.”
Fleshman also presented the Seventh District lawmaker with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Congressional Champion of Hope Award for his leadership as a pancreatic cancer awareness advocate and his leadership in Congress regarding the legislation.
As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, Congressman Leonard Lance has been one of the leading advocates in Congress in the fight against recalcitrant cancers, including pancreatic cancer which is currently the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States with a five-year survival rate of only six percent.
Under the new law the NCI will be charged with developing its first two plans for pancreatic cancer and lung cancer and will develop these through working groups composed of federal and non-federal entities.