Learn More about the Esophageal Cancer Action Network

Our Mission

ECAN’s mission is to save lives by increasing awareness about the link between Heartburn and Cancer, promoting early detection, supporting medical innovation to prevent, detect, treat and cure Esophageal Cancer and link patients and families to compassionate support. This national non-profit organization, based in Baltimore, is led by a board of directors of top physicians, business leaders, and families that have been touched by Esophageal Cancer.

Our History

ECAN was founded in 2009 by Mindy Mintz Mordecai and an impressive group of dedicated professionals after she lost the father of her two young daughters, and her husband of 14 years, to Esophageal Cancer. Angry and frustrated because she believes that her husband and thousands more like him might never have died had they been aware of the link between Heartburn and Cancer, Mordecai is determined to prevent others from suffering the pain Esophageal Cancer has caused her family.

Our Accomplishments

Over the past 5 years, ECAN has made significant strides in the fight against Esophageal Cancer. Among ECAN’s successes:

  • Critical Research
  • ECAN successfully advocated with the National Cancer Institute to change course and include Esophageal Cancer in its genome mapping project known as the The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Mindy Mintz Mordecai is also a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Esophagogastric Task Force of the Gastrointestinal Steering Committee as a Patient Advocate Representative and the NCI Patient Advocate Steering Committee. The focus of the Task Force is to improve the clinical research that impacts Esophageal and Gastric cancer patients.

  • A Guide for Patients
  • With input from physicians around the country, ECAN developed an innovative Guide for Patients providing comprehensive and clear information about the link between Heartburn and Cancer. The guide is designed to help patients advocate for their own health care and is available as a free download from the ECAN website in both English and Spanish.

  • Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month
  • ECAN led the effort to have April designated as Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month in states throughout the United States. With ECAN’s support over the past 5 years, more than 150 gubernatorial declarations of EC Awareness Month have been achieved throughout the country and in some other nations, as well. April is now observed as EC Awareness Month by companies, organizations and governments across the nation – and the world.

  • Legendary Partnership
  • ECAN has partnered with the estate of film icon Humphrey Bogart whose life was cut short in 1957 by Esophageal Cancer. In May 2013, the 3,000 guests of the First Annual Humphrey Bogart Film Festival in Key Largo, Florida witnessed the launch of Screenings for Screenings. In movie trailers produced by ECAN and presented before each film, Bogart’s son Stephen encourages those at risk for Esophageal Cancer to “get checked.” Those trailers can now be seen at a variety of events, including the annual Humphrey Bogart Film Festival in Key Largo, Florida.

  • Events that make a Difference
  • In April 2012, ECAN hosted the first Gala ever held in the U.S. to focus on Esophageal Cancer advocacy. Former California Congresswoman and Under Secretary of State Ellen O. Tauscher moved the crowd of nearly 300 with her story of survival of stage III Esophageal Cancer. In 2013, the Cancer Dancer Gala attracted a larger audience and raised more than $110,000 in support of ECAN’s life-saving mission. In 2014, the Cancer Dancer Gala went Hollywood with more than 300 guests and remarks by ECAN spokesman Stephen Bogart. The fun night celebrated ECAN’s success as it approached its fifth anniversary. ECAN sponsors and supports multiple fundraising and awareness raising events around the country including walks, runs, bike rides, golf tournaments, dinners, library outreach, speaking events, art shows and more. ECAN volunteers have hosted more than 60 events to raise awareness in cities and towns across the United States since 2010.

For more information, visit ECAN.org.