Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dave Fallen Memorial

May 22, 1948 – September 13, 2001

In December 2000, Dave was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His diagnosis was made at the UW GI clinic with an endoscopic ultrasound. Pancreatic cancer is a difficult disease to detect because of the position of the pancreas and the asymptomatic nature of the disease. When diagnosed, the cancer had already wrapped itself around a major vein and could not be surgically removed. Dave died nine months later.

In 2002, researchers from the UW, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center and the U of Pittsburgh announced a breakthrough in mapping the general location of a gene associated with inherited pancreatic cancer. At least ten per cent of pancreatic cancer is hereditary. By continuing research in the genetic form of the disease, researchers can apply what they have learned to the more common non-hereditary form and, thereby, possibly establish a method of early detection. Another advantage of this pioneering research is the development of an important aid in the collection of data in a UW-based surveillance program for high-risk individuals using an endoscopic-imaging technique. If precancerous changes can be detected early enough, surgery can be performed to remove the pancreas, before cancer develops.

The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is one of the most comprehensive cancer-care organizations in the United States. Through the Alliance, cancer patients have access to state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment tools as well as the latest cancer therapies. Within the unique environment established in a partnership between Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine and Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, researchers work together to speed the transfer of new diagnostic and treatment techniques from the research setting to patient care.

Please consider a donation to the SCCA to help fund the establishment of a High Risk Gastrointestinal Cancer Clinic that would promote the tools for early detection and prevention, aid researchers in their collection of pertinent data, and extend cancer prevention services to those at risk.

Gifts can be directed to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in memory of Dave. Checks should be made out to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and sent to:

PO Box 19023
Seattle, WA 98109-1023

Thank you,
Cathy, Derek, Shannon and Brooke Fallen