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LCA Sends Letter to Dr. Nancy Snyderman Clarifying Information on Lung Cancer Risk

April 8, 2010
Nancy Snyderman, MD
NBC News
Chief Medical Editor

Dear Dr. Snyderman,

Thank you for the piece on lung cancer this morning. Lung Cancer Alliance has been on public record in support of the approach of Dr. Spira's research.

Your reports have been so helpful in making the public aware that lung cancer is by far the biggest cancer killer.  All of us at LCA were especially touched by the piece you and Matt Lauer did on John Atkinson, our wonderful advocate from Nebraska who died at age 41 last year. Even though John never smoked the first question most people asked him when they heard he had lung cancer was “did you smoke?”  The stigma and indifference stunned him, as it does practically every lung cancer patient.

May I, as a lung cancer survivor, make a request? The statement that 90% of lung cancer patients are smokers, as you said in your report today, implies that they are all current smokers, which is making the increasingly cost-conscious public resent lung cancer patients even more.

If they knew the facts - that 60% are former smokers and another 18% never smoked at all - the political obstacles to a more comprehensive and aggressive research effort would not be so daunting.

Certainly if you would like to discuss this, we welcome the opportunity to speak with you or to send you any additional information you may need. Again, we deeply appreciate your coverage of lung cancer.


Sheila Ross
Special Counsel

cc: Laurie Fenton-Ambrose, President and CEO