But Michelle Lukavich, of Washington, doesn't think the disease gets the attention it deserves. In fact, she didn't know much about it, until tragedy struck her family.
"Oh my dad was a very fun loving guy. He always had a smile or cracked a joke," she said.
When Lukavich reminisces on time spent with her father, she remembers a fun loving hero. A longtime fire chief in Channahan, Illinois, Paul Lukavich also volunteered with the Washington Fire Department and served in the military.
"He was known as 'Rooster' for his ability to crow like a rooster," laughed Lukavich. "And he'd crow for anybody anywhere at anytime."
In 2009, doctors diagnosed her dad with pancreatic cancer. He died four months later.
"Time is not on your side with this cancer. It attacks quickly and it's deadly," she said.
Less than six percent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive more than five years. Now, Lukavich is dedicating her time to inform others about a cancer she says no one is talking about.
"If you don't know anybody who has the disease, you probably will soon. We need to get out there. We need to get the money, and we need to get a cure," she said.
The National Cancer Institute says pancreatic cancer is the least funded among the top cancer killers. Lukavich believes that needs to change, so her hero doesn't die in vain.
"You know he fought in Vietnam, but he lost a battle to a cancer. It's really sad," she said.
November is pancreatic cancer awareness month. In September, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to get more funding for pancreatic cancer research.