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Lung Cancer Alliance Salutes Veterans

Pledges Continued Support to Reduce Lung Cancer Mortality Among Veterans

Washington, DC [November 10, 2010]—Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) salutes the nation's 21.9 million Veterans who have so nobly served our country and pledges to continue to make the high incidence of lung cancer among Veterans one of its highest priority issues.

Admiral T. Joseph Lopez, USN (Ret.), a member of the LCA board and only the second admiral in the Navy to rise to a four star rank from direct commissioning from the enlisted ranks said, “Lung cancer kills more Americans and Veterans than all other major cancers combined and it is attacking our Veterans with a higher frequency than our civilians, and now that we have incontestable evidence that early detection with CT screening can save lives, we simply must bring this benefit to our Veterans as expeditiously as possible.  We can do no less.”

Admiral Lopez recommends coordination between the VA and DOD in identifying those at highest risk and developing a comprehensive program of screening and early disease management.

“If we do this right and integrate CT screening for those at high risk into our Veteran and Military healthcare system  in an efficient and cost effective way,  we can set the standards for the civilian population and not only extend life, but save lives,” he said.

“What we cannot do is ignore this. I believe that screening should be our first step and the optimum choice to save and extend life for potential lung cancer victims in our Veteran community,” he said.

One of the first studies to document disparity in lung cancer incidence and mortality was carried out by the VA in 1987 and indicated that former Marine ground troops in Vietnam died of lung cancer at a 58% higher rate than marines who did not serve in the war.  

According to the most recent U.S.Census update, 35% of veterans today are from the Vietnam era.

Last week, the National Cancer Institute announced the results of a large, 53,000 person, eight year civilian study which showed that screening a high risk population with CT scans can reduce lung cancer deaths by 20%.

LCA President and CEO Laurie Fenton-Ambrose said: “Veterans deserve our deepest gratitude for their extraordinary sacrifice and unyielding protection of our freedoms. We can help express that by moving quickly to bring the benefits of CT screening to those who are at high risk for lung cancer.”

Lung Cancer Alliance is the only national non profit dedicated exclusively to providing patient support and advocacy for those living with or at risk for lung cancer.  Lung Cancer Alliance is committed to reversing decades of stigma and neglect by empowering patients, elevating awareness and changing health policy.

To learn more, please click here to download the 2009 Lung Cancer and Veterans Fact Sheet (pdf).