GI Cancers Alliance Launches to Elevate Patients’ Voices Against Gastrointestinal Cancers

Twenty organizations unite to raise awareness, provide education and advocate for gastrointestinal cancers

CHICAGO (JUNE 7, 2016) — Twenty cancer advocacy groups from around the United States announce the formation of the GI Cancers Alliance committed to the fight against gastrointestinal cancers, which collectively make up the most common and deadliest type of cancer.  The groups’ leadership met June 4 during the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago to elect its chairs.

The mission of the GI Cancers Alliance is to raise awareness, provide education and advocate for the prevention, treatment and cure of gastrointestinal cancers through a collaboration of advocacy groups, industry and institutional partners.

“Progress has been too slow for patients with GI cancers.  We believe this unique collaboration will strengthen the voice of our community and improve outcomes for patients,” says Craig Lustig, associate director of The Ruesch Center for the Cure of GI Cancers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, and facilitator for the GI Cancers Alliance.

The groups’ organizers have come together because of a shared goal to create a stronger more unified voice in the fight against gastrointestinal cancers.

“We share a common core belief that a unified patient voice is central to addressing unmet needs in screening, awareness and treatment,” Lustig says.

The 20 members of the Alliance include: Beat Liver Tumors, The Bili Project Foundation, Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, Colon Cancer Alliance, Colon Cancer Challenge, Debbie’s Dream Foundation, Esophageal Cancer Action Network, Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation, Fight Colorectal Cancer, Gastric Cancer Foundation, Global Liver Institute, Hope for Stomach Cancer, Michael’s Mission, National Pancreas Foundation, No Stomach for Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network,  Prevent Cancer Foundation, The Raymond Foundation, The Ruesch Center for the Cure of GI Cancers and TargetCancer Foundation.

The participating groups represent the various types of cancers that make up gastrointestinal cancers, or the group of cancers that affect the digestive system. This includes cancers of the esophagus, gallbladder, bile duct, liver, pancreas, stomach, small intestine, bowel (large intestine or colon and rectum) and anus.

“The burden of GI cancers is growing.  It is essential that GI cancer advocates come together to ensure there are expanded resources for research, prevention and treatment,” explains Martha Raymond, executive director of Michael’s Mission, Founder/CEO of The Raymond Foundation and Alliance co-chair.

“There has been tremendous momentum and collaboration through the Alliance in a short period of time. We are excited by the potential of this collaboration,” notes John Hopper, executive director of the Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation, board director of the National Pancreas Foundation, and Alliance co-chair.

Lilly Oncology and Taiho Oncology are the founding industry non-voting members of the GI Cancers Alliance. They provide funding for advocacy activities and education.

The Alliance will focus on creating programs to raise general awareness about GI cancers and create resources and tools that will fill gaps for patients where they can make the largest impact.