Last week, we brought government leaders, cancer experts and lung cancer advocates together on Capitol Hill for the “State of Lung Cancer” Congressional Briefing, the first in a series hosted by the Congressional Lung Cancer Caucus and Lung Cancer Alliance. We discussed the current state of lung cancer treatments, research advancements, what is coming down the pipeline and what actions need to happen to bring us closer to a cure.
Thanks to your efforts, we had some of our country’s leading decision makers in the audience listening to a panel discussion between Dr. Julie Brahmer, Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and co-director of the Upper Aerodigestive Program of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and Dr. Bill Mayfield, Chief Surgical Officer at WellStar Health System and LCA Medical and Professional Advisory Board (MPAB) member, moderated by our Director of Science and Research, Jennifer King, PhD.
Here is what YOU need to know!
- LUNG CANCER SCREENING: We know lung cancer screening using low dose CT really works. It is saving lives by detecting lung cancer at earlier, treatable stages. Screening of current and former smokers has been shown to reduce lung cancer death by 20%! We hope that with more research, we can determine populations at high risk for lung cancer beyond our current parameters. Lung cancer screening is now a covered benefit for Medicare and most insurance coverages for those at high risk, but screening reimbursements are being cut and preventing access for those who need it most.
- IMMUNOTHERAPY: Immunotherapy, a test that trains the body’s defense system to fight cancer, is advancing lung cancer treatment to a whole new level. We are starting to see new options, like offering immunotherapy before chemotherapy and at earlier stages, not just late stage. Thanks to advancing research and technology, we are seeing some amazing changes in the treatment of lung cancer.
- PERSONALIZATION: One of the most exciting developments in the world of lung cancer is that treatments are becoming more personalized to a patient level, rather than an entire group. Lung cancer is now being treated as a chronic disease, moving therapies forward after surgery to prevent lung cancer from returning. Additionally, we are seeing new tests that make it easier and less invasive to diagnose lung cancer, like blood tests in place of a tissue biopsy.