NEW STUDY: Lung Cancer Screening Could Prevent 12,000 Deaths

A newly released study shows that by screening a targeted population of 55-74 year old smokers and former smokers with CT scans could prevent 12,000 lung cancer deaths a year.

“This is a very large number of lives, the equivalent of eliminating almost all deaths from cervical cancer and melanoma combined,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President and CEO of Lung Cancer Alliance.

This would be the biggest single mortality drop in cancer history.

“We hope that the study will spur our public health officials to move now to formally recommend screening and incorporate this life-saving benefit for those at risk in healthcare coverage,” Fenton Ambrose said.

“This number cannot be ignored, and we believe that the implementation of safe, efficient and equitable screening for those at risk the number of lives that will be saved will prove to be even higher,” she said.

The calculations for the estimates released by the American Cancer Society today, were based on the results of the National Lung screening Trial (NLST) which compared CT screening to chest x-ray screening for smokers and former smokers with a 30 pack year history.

Within a very short period of time for a screening trial, and after only three annual screens, there were 20% fewer lung cancer deaths in the CT arm, which triggered an immediate termination of the trial so people in the chest x-ray arm could be advised of the results.

But the analyses of subsequent studies as well as other national and international trials indicate that with more screening rounds and a longer look-back period and the advances in imaging and screening techniques that have occurred since the NLST, the mortality benefit could be 35% to 65%.

“Our highest priority is to see that screening those at risk is done right and well,” Fenton Ambrose said referring to LCA’s National Framework for Excellence in Lung Cancer Screening and Continuum of Care, which lays out the rights of people to know if they are at risk, the risks and benefits of screening and what to look for in a screening site.

LCA is listing sites that adhere to the principles of the Framework on its website to help answer the questions: Am I at risk and where should I go.

A Guide To Responsible CT Screening For Lung Cancer

We are pleased to announce that the American Cancer Society has joined Lung Cancer Alliance, other leading professional organizations and medical centers around the country in endorsing low dose CT screening for those at high risk for lung cancer.

No one disputes the results of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), a randomized controlled trial launched by the National Cancer Institute in 2092 and terminate in 2010. The issues now are how to deploy lung cancer screening responsibly and equitably, and how to determine who else will benefit beyond the NLST population of older, heavy smokers.

We are addressing these issues through our National Framework for Excellence in Lung Screening and Continuum of Care—a set of guiding principles for screening centers which also outlines the rights of the public and requires a multi-disciplinary team to coordinate care.

We urge you to talk with your doctors and learn more about your risk and where to get screened if you fit the at-risk profile. Please visit: www.screenforlungcancer.org for a list of risk factors and for the list of screening centers following our National Framework.

Thank You: Lung Cancer Is Now A Federal Research Priority

We did it! Wow, what a way to kick off 2013! This is an incredible day for the entire lung cancer community!

Last night, President Obama signed into law the first ever legislation requiring comprehensive plans of research action for high mortality cancers, with lung and pancreatic cancers given priority status for expedited attention!!

This landmark legislation, included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, requires the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop scientific frameworks for addressing cancers with survival rates of less than 50%, with first priority attention to lung and pancreatic cancers. The framework must be sent to Congress within 18 months.

We have accomplished our core legislative priority – work that began 6 ½ years ago – and did so in the end with a wonderful collaboration with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

We wish to thank you– our wonderful, passionate advocates. You reached out to your members of Congress via phone, email and personal visits. This helped in more ways than you can imagine. Together, we brought lung cancer out of the shadows!

It’s Official! President Obama Signs High Mortality Cancer Bill Into Law

Just hours before the end of the 112th Congress, constitutional deadline for approval of a bill passed by that Congress, President Barack Obama today signed into law the first legislation requiring comprehensive plans of research action for high mortality cancers, with lung and pancreatic cancers given priority status for expedited attention.

This landmark legislation, included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, requires the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop scientific frameworks for addressing cancers with survival rates of less than 50%, with first priority attention to lung and pancreatic cancers. The framework must be sent to Congress within 18 months.

“Thank you Mr. President and thank you Congress for giving all of us in the lung cancer community and all those at risk for lung cancer the best possible present for the start of a new year,” said LCA President and CEO Laurie Fenton-Ambrose, whose national organization launched the legislative effort on lung cancer six years ago.

“This is a new era for lung cancer,” she said. “We are now out of the shadows.”

“Our mission is to cut lung cancer mortality in half by the end of the decade,” Fenton-Ambrose continued, and we have added another tool in our arsenal to help make this goal a reality. This legislation, coupled with the validation of CT screening as a bigger potential life saver than any other cancer screening method, and with the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense starting to screen high risk veterans and military, this goal is absolutely possible.”

Fenton-Ambrose thanked the entire lung cancer advocacy community for their untiring efforts and unwavering support over the past 6 years to see the legislation passed. She also thanked the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan) for joining forces to see the bill through to law. Lung cancer’s five year survival rate is 15%, and pancreatic cancer’s is 5% – both little changed since the so-called War on Cancer legislation was passed forty years ago.

Lung Cancer Alliance’s legislative saga started in 2006 during the 109th Congress with the passage of a Senate resolution calling lung cancer an urgent public health priority. The original sponsors were then Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chuck Hagel and Mike DeWine.

In the 110th Congress, bipartisan resolutions were passed unanimously by both Houses and in the 111th Congress bipartisan, bicameral legislation was introduced to authorize a comprehensive plan of action. The primary sponsors included Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), then Senator and now Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Senator John Kerry (D-MA), and House of Representatives members Donna Christensen (D-VI), Lois Capps (D-CA), Ed Whitfield  (R-KY) and Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ).

“We are deeply grateful to all these current and former members of the House and Senate for their leadership and unfailing support,” said Fenton-Ambrose.

Fenton-Ambrose also thanked Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), primary sponsors of the pancreatic cancer bill, and PanCan CEO Julie Fleshman and Director of Government Affairs Megan Gordon Don for the team effort that finally made the bill a law.

The final product, the Recalcitrant Cancer Act, represents a compromise worked out between the Congress and the administration on the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act and Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act.

Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) is committed to ending injustice and saving lives through an alliance of advocacy, education, and support. LCA provides live, professional support, referral and information services for patients, their loved ones and those at risk for lung cancer; advocates for multiple millions in public health dollars for lung cancer research; and conducts national awareness campaigns.

Follow Lung Cancer Alliance on Facebook . Follow us on Twitter: @LCAorg.

LCA 2012 Wrap Up: See How Your Donation Helped

Thanks to your generous support throughout the year, we were able to help even more people feel supported and empowered; we hit the stigma of lung cancer head on; and we were able to secure an additional $10.2M for lung cancer research. Read below to see how your donations supported us this year:

Lung Cancer Awareness Highlights

Research Advocacy Highlights

Support Services Highlights

As we approach the end of 2012, please continue to consider us in your year end giving so we may continue to help others. With your gift, you can honor someone special and bring about life-saving change today.

Thank you for all that you and our very best wishes for a safe and joyous holiday season from all of us at LCA.

Congress Gives Its Final Approval To Lung Cancer Research Bill; Only President Obama’s Signature Needed To Become Law

Today, the Senate gave its final approval to legislation containing the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act that gives priority status to lung and pancreatic cancers for the development of a master plan of action that the National Cancer Institute must send to Congress and make publicly available within 18 months.

The President is expected to sign the bill, the Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, which contains the cancer legislation.

“This is a holiday gift for all the lung cancer advocates around the country who came to Washington in person, or called and emailed their representatives to make lung cancer a priority for federal research,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, LCA President & CEO.

The Senate action today concludes the long congressional journey of the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act that started in 2006 with a resolution introduced by then Senators Hillary Clinton, Chuck Hagel and Mike DeWine.

The bill now has to be enrolled and officially signed by the President before becoming law.

Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) is committed to ending injustice and saving lives through an alliance of advocacy, education, and support. LCA provides live, professional support, referral and information services for patients, their loved ones and those at risk for lung cancer; advocates for multiple millions in public health dollars for lung cancer research; and conducts national awareness campaigns.

Follow Lung Cancer Alliance on Facebook . Follow us on Twitter: @LCAorg.

PASSED the HOUSE: National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 Conference Report

Today, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 Conference Report. This legislation includes the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, legislation creating new National Cancer Institute (NCI) scientific frameworks for the most lethal cancers. Lung and Pancreatic cancers are given priority status in the bill. The United States Senate is expected to approve the conference shortly thereafter, at which point, the legislation will be sent to President Obama for signature.

The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012 requires NCI, within 18 months, to carry out a complete inventory of all research done to date, overlooked areas, the availability of researchers and the impact on public health. Then, they are to develop a scientific framework for a comprehensive plan of research action to address all aspects of the cancer including prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Within 30 days of its development, the scientific framework must be sent to Congress and made publicly available.

We hope the Senate will act quickly and send this bill to President Obama for signature before Christmas. This would be a truly wonderful holiday gift to the entire lung cancer community that has worked so hard to accomplish this core priority.

Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) is committed to ending injustice and saving lives through an alliance of advocacy, education, and support. LCA provides live, professional support, referral and information services for patients, their loved ones and those at risk for lung cancer; advocates for multiple millions in public health dollars for lung cancer research; and conducts national awareness campaigns.

Follow Lung Cancer Alliance on Facebook . Follow us on Twitter: @LCAorg.

Creating a Legacy within the Lung Cancer Community

You can create a legacy that will allow us to continue helping others and grow the lung cancer movement – while meeting your financial goals at the same time. In fact, you may be able to do more than you thought possible and still receive favorable financial and tax benefits. There are many planned giving options and we recommend that you consult with your legal counsel, tax attorney and/or financial planner about these options: naming us in your will, gifts of stock, retirement funds, life insurance policies, and real estate.

We were recently contacted by a longtime supporter, survivor and friend who decided leave part of her estate to us in her will. In her own words, we would like to share her story with you.

How did you come to find LCA?
Twelve years ago when I was first diagnosed with lung cancer, I found information about Lung Cancer Alliance and your free support programs on the bulletin board at my oncologist’s office. The staff there also recommended the organization. The rest is history!

What drew you/or attracted you most about LCA?
It was really the grassroots advocacy efforts underway to secure more research funding for lung cancer. It just felt right. I feel good about donating.

As a survivor, what resonated with you about our work?
That you are always here to give hope, comfort and help to anyone who needs it regardless of who they are, where they are or stage of diagnosis.  In my mind, you are leading the grassroots movement as you build the organization. The other groups like American Cancer Society are so large and you are small — but making strides quickly.  The fact that you were just getting started, extending yourselves above and beyond what the bigger groups were doing really appealed to me.

What has been your experience with our staff/volunteers?
Wonderful and very helpful with all the information I need.  You care and take the time to talk to me and help me through. A positive experience right from the beginning!  I also wanted to start a new source of revenue for you through my estate. The fact that I can leave a legacy is very important to me. I can play a role in helping people and also making others aware that they can help too with estate gifts to your organization – rather than put them away where they are not helping anyone else.

Why did you decide to donate to LCA? 
Because I felt strongly that you need help to keep doing what you started. I knew the best place to support was in a cause that is close to me and helps others.

Why as a bequest – why leave us in your will?
Because I wanted you to count on these dollars coming in to make a measurable impact – in one lump sum as that’s what you need now — and tell others they can do the same. At the end of your life you may find that you do have some money to give away. I decided to give it to you to help as many people as possible.

What would you say to others about making a bequest gift to LCA?
It makes you feel so wonderful to know that you are leaving a legacy behind and helping other people with the care that you provide while growing the grassroots movement. The whole picture is very positive and makes me feel great. I want people to know this is an option and we can really build upon this to keep up your grassroots work and support.  Keep fighting the good fight!

- Barbara, 12-year survivor, Boston, Massachusetts

For more information on how you can leave Lung Cancer Alliance in your will or estate plans, please contact Emily Eyres at 202-742-1424 or eeyres@lungcanceralliance.org

Tobacco Companies Ordered to Advertise Smoking Harms

Last week, a federal judge ordered tobacco companies to advertise their deliberate lies about the harms of smoking and the addictiveness of nicotine, despite the companies’ pleas that doing so would “shame and humiliate” them.

“Deal with it,” said Lung Cancer Alliance President & CEO Laurie Fenton Ambrose, who called last week’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler “the first step in putting the blame where it really belongs and in bringing a more compassionate and comprehensive approach to lung cancer.”

“Tobacco companies have been so successful in perpetrating fraud, hooking people as young as possible and portraying smoking as a rational choice that even public and private health organizations categorize lung cancer as a completely preventable disease,” said Fenton Ambrose.

“The result has been devastating,” she continued. “We continue to see massive and tragic loss of life, an entrenched “blame and shame” stigma and minimal research funding directed to this disease.”

“Patients are routinely blamed, whether they smoked or not,” said Fenton-Ambrose, “and the prejudice against lung cancer is so pervasive that efforts to bring the scientific breakthrough of life-saving benefit of CT screening to those at high risk are being undermined.”

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women, taking more lives each year than the four other leading cancers combined.

Yet research funding for lung cancer has been consistently far below and its 5-year survival rate of 15% has barely budged since the War on Cancer legislation was passed forty years ago.

“Our commitment is to continue to hold tobacco companies accountable for their wrong doing and advocate for a more compassionate and comprehensive approach to helping those who have been victimized by these fraudulent practices,” said Fenton-Ambrose.

Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act Creates New NCI Scientific Framework Focused on Lethal Cancers – Lung and Pancreatic to Launch Initiative

Washington, D.C. [November 29, 2012]—Today, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) announced that its long sought goal of establishing a research priority within the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on lung cancer was another step closer to becoming law with the United States Senate’s approval of the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012.

The legislation is a modified version of the bill formerly known as the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act which passed the House of Representatives September 18, 2012 with strong bi-partisan support.  The Senate passed the legislation as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill. The Senate must pass the entire bill and the House of Representatives must concur before it can proceed to the President for approval.

The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012 requires NCI to develop comprehensive plans of research action, or scientific frameworks, to address the most lethal cancers – those with a five year survival rate of less than 50 percent. Immediate attention is to be given to lung and pancreatic cancers.

LCA worked closely with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to secure priority status for lung and pancreatic cancers in the legislation which together cause one in every three cancer deaths and whose 5-year survival rates of 15% and 6% respectively have barely moved since the 1972 launch of the “War on Cancer”.

Laurie Fenton Ambrose, LCA President & CEO, credited the achievement to the unrelenting work of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and its advocates along with the extraordinary efforts of lung cancer advocates all across the country who worked tirelessly to shine a brighter light on these deadly cancers.

In addition, Fenton Ambrose commended Senate leaders specifically Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for his work on behalf of the pancreatic cancer community and Senators Dianne Feinstein, Johnny Isakson and John Kerry for their sponsorship of the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act whose central tenant, bringing a coordinated and comprehensive research approach to all aspects of the disease, was incorporated in the amended bill.

“Advocates, committed congressional leaders and legislative momentum were the driving factors that gave LCA the leverage needed to secure priority status for lung cancer in the compromise bill that was negotiated in the House and Senate Health Committees over the past weeks,” she said. “Thank you advocates and thank you Senate leaders for helping us realize this long sought goal.”

The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012 requires NCI, within 18 months, to carry out a complete inventory of all research done to date, overlooked areas, the availability of researchers and the impact on public health. Then, they are to develop a scientific framework for a comprehensive plan of research action to address all aspects of the cancer, including prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Within 30 days of its development, the scientific framework must be sent to Congress and made publicly available.

“We are hopeful that this new research standing at NCI will bring long needed focus on these lethal cancers, continue to engage advocates in the process, and lead to greater and faster breakthroughs and improvements in survival,” continued Fenton Ambrose. “From prevention, to screening for those without known risk factors as well as those at high risk, to better treatments and even cures—this is what our movement is all about.”

In 2007, LCA secured passage of bipartisan resolutions in both Houses of Congress calling for lung cancer to be a national public health priority.

The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act, legislation calling for a unique multi-agency comprehensive plan of action to reduce mortality by 50% by 2020, was subsequently introduced in both Houses, again with bi-partisan support, and at latest count co-sponsored in the House and Senate by 117 Members.

In addition, LCA joined forces over four years ago with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and other lethal cancer advocacy organizations to petition NCI to develop a new targeted research initiative focused on lethal cancers with low survival rates and little progress.

The Recalcitrant Research Cancer Act of 2012 is an amalgam of these strategic efforts.

Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA),  is committed to ending injustice and saving lives through an alliance of advocacy, education, and support. LCA provides live, professional support, referral and information services for patients, their loved ones and those at risk for lung cancer; advocates for multiple millions in public health dollars for lung cancer research; and conducts national awareness campaigns.

Follow Lung Cancer Alliance on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter: @LCAorg