INSIDE THE FLX: Pancreatic Cancer Association of Western NY (podcast)

In this episode, we talk with co-founder Mary Pettinaro and golf tournament chair Savannah Contestible.

Pancreatic Cancer Association of WNY (PCA)

  • The local organization was formed in 2009 to create awareness, raise funds for research, and advocate for those affected by pancreatic cancer.

  • An all-volunteer organization with members who have all been affected by the disease

Pancreatic Cancer – its symptoms and why it’s so hard to detect

  • Mimics other digestive disorders (abdominal or back pain, weight loss, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, changes in stools, diabetes can be a risk factor)

  • 3rd leading cause of cancer deaths behind lung and colon. More people now die from Pancreatic Cancer than breast cancer.

  • It’s an aggressive cancer often found in the late stages because there are no early detection methods or routine screenings as in other major cancers.

  • An estimated 62,210 will be diagnosed this year, and more than 49,830 will die from it

  • Statistics have not changed much in the past 4-to 5 decades: the five-year survival rate just in the past few years reached double digits at 11% whereas most major cancers have been double digits for years and have much higher survival rates.

What programs does the agency provide?

  • Fund local research through two signature events and several pop-up monthly events:

    • Signature fundraiser – Step It Up! Cure Pancreatic Cancer Walk
    • Michael F Contestabile Golf Tournament
  • Provide educational programs at various community outreach events/virtual webinars

  • Developing direct patient support programs

  • Offer a Scholarship Fund to help families affected by pancreatic cancer.


  • Monday, July 11 at Eagle Vale
  • 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Includes golf, lunch, and dinner with an awards program
  • Online auction open to anyone whether attending golf or not
  • Onsite raffles for participants
  • Register at and click on golf tournament
  • Teams and sponsorships are still available

Proceeds benefit:

  • Local pancreatic cancer research at Wilmot Cancer Center

  • Michael F. Contestabile Memorial Scholarship Fund to help families affected by pancreatic cancer be able to fund their children’s education.

    • Michael passed away at age 46 and left behind 3 young children – Savannah is one of them.

    • A scholarship is $1,000 awarded annually to high school or college students directly affected by pancreatic cancer. Applications are on our website –

    • Applications are being taken now – the deadline for submission is June 30.

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