Lamenting the Loss of Two Groundbreaking African American Women

In a matter of days, the nation lost two vibrant women whose writing and voices elevated important issues, especially those impacting the African American community. 

Lynne Duke died on April 20 at age 56.  She had been the Washington Post’s first African American female foreign correspondent, serving as Johannesburg Bureau Chief from 1995 to 2002 and covering much of southern Africa.  In her 2003 memoir — “Mandela, Mobutu, and Me: A Newswoman’s African Journey,” she chronicled her work and celebrated the “extraordinary fortitude, unwavering hope and profound humanity despite immense odds” of the African people.

Just days later, Dr. Antronette K. Yancey, a physician and a UCLA public health professor, who urged people to incorporate exercise into their daily lives in small bursts, died at age 55. In 2010, she authored a book — “Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time.”  She was a champion for health equity and was committed to real-life solutions to public health problems.  Dr. Yancey was a non-smoker.

It was stunning to lose two such young, vibrant, impactful women to lung cancer in just one week.  Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of women and African Americans, but very few people are aware if this.

Blame, shame and stigma surrounding lung cancer have stymied efforts to lessen its lethal impact — whether these remarkable women smoked or not, we know that no one deserves to die of lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among African Americans.

Knowledge is power >> 

Anthony J. Principi Joins Lung Cancer Alliance Honorary Board of Directors

I am delighted to share the news that Anthony J. Principi, former Secretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, has joined our Honorary Board of Directors. It is an understatement to say that it is a true privilege to welcome Secretary Principi to our Honorary Board. During his 4-year tenure as VA Secretary, Secretary Principi directed the federal government’s second largest department, responsible for a nationwide system of health care services, benefits programs, and national cemeteries for America’s 25-million living veterans and dependents.

A New York native, Secretary Principi is a 1967 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. and was awarded the Bronze Star with combat “V” for valor and several other military decorations for valor during his service in the Vietnam War. His counsel will benefit our overall mission and the entire lung cancer community. He has shown a proven committed to the protection and betterment of others, especially veterans who are at an elevated risk for lung cancer. We are honored that he has joined our fight!

Read more information about Secretary Principi here.

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

Take a Deep Breath of Hope

Join. Walk. Fight.

Whether you’re looking for support, inspiration or to save lives, your participation in the 5th Annual San Diego Breath of Hope 5k Walk is how we can bring positive change to lung cancer.

Don’t just stand up for what you believe in, walk for it. Register today for the 5k walk on Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 9 a.m. (on-site registration and expo begin at 7:30 a.m.) at Cancer Survivors Park on Harbor Island in San Diego.

To show how you can make a difference, meet this year’s walk chair, Cipi Enriquez.

Q: How did you get involved in fighting lung cancer? Who is your inspiration?
A: I got involved when my wife Maria was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2003. She is my inspiration.

Q: What is it about the San Diego Breath of Hope that is so special?
A: Besides being the only lung cancer specific venue in San Diego, it is like a family gathering because you see all the people that were there in previous walks and you can catch-up with them.

Q: How long have you been involved in the San Diego Breath of Hope?
A: I was involved since it began five years ago.

Q: What is your favorite part of the walk? What can people look forward to this year?
A: I like seeing all the people that return and bring new walkers! You can look forward to a uplifting experience with a festive atmosphere as we help bring attention to the need for more resources to one day find a cure for this and all other cancers.

Q: How can one person make a difference in the battle against lung cancer?
A: One person can tell their friends and family to tell their friends and family to join us here. That is how the San Diego Breath of Hope began. Three survivors told their friends and family and now we have over 1200 participants!

If you can’t make it to the event, donate to the cause.

With your help, we can create an impact much greater than 3.2 miles.

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.