Whitehouse seeks more funding for pancreatic cancer

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is pushing for more funding for pancreatic cancer research. And he's enlisted actor Patrick Swayze's widow for help.

Lisa Swayze joined Whitehouse and other senators at a press conference introducing the bill. Her husband, actor Patrick Swayze died in 2009 of pancreatic cancer.

Whitehouse's mother also died of the disease.

Pancreatic cancer's survival rate is in the single digits, something Whitehouse learned when he told a doctor-friend the news.

"After I told him what my mother had been diagnosed with, after a long pause he said, 'I'm really sorry Sheldon' and that told me all I needed to know," says Whitehouse.

The bill doesn't call for additional money, says Whitehouse, but for the National Cancer Institute to shift funding. A new report finds 2 percent of NCI's funding goes towards pancreatic cancer.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@wrni.org.