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Washington, DC [August 10, 2010] -- Today, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) commended Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) for joining his colleagues in support of legislation to fund a more comprehensive plan of action on lung cancer. Warner’s endorsement brings to 20 the total number of United States Senators backing S. 332, The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act (LCMRA), first-ever legislation to authorize a multi-agency five year program to reduce the mortality rate of lung cancer.
“We could not be more pleased to have Senator Warner’s backing for this critically important legislation,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President & CEO of Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA). “His support continues to build momentum and sends a long-overdue message of hope to the lung cancer community in Virginia and across this country that a better and more comprehensive plan of action will be established.”
Lung cancer continues to be the number one cause of cancer death both nationally and in every state including Virginia, causing more deaths each year than breast, prostate, colon, kidney, melanoma and liver cancers -- combined.
The key highlights of the bill require the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Defense and Veterans Affairs to combine forces on a comprehensive, coordinated plan of action with funding authorized for five years to accomplish the mortality reduction goal.
“I know first-hand the devastating toll caused by this disease and how deeply stigmatized and misunderstood lung cancer is within both the public and medical community’s minds,” said Alex Spira, MD, Medical Director, Medical Oncology Program, Inova Thoracic Oncology Program and Virginia Cancer Specialists, “and this situation has contributed to research under funding.” Spira continued, “It is heartening to know that Senator Warner recognizes this tragic situation and is willing to help all those either living with or at risk for lung cancer – as that is exactly what S. 332 sets out to do.”
Other elements of S. 332 and its House companion bill HR 2112, would require the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to review its funding priorities in order to meet the lung cancer mortality reduction goal and require that more National Institutes of Health be made part of the comprehensive plan, including the National Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and the National Institute for Environmental Health, among others.
“As a survivor who shared my story with the Senator and his staff, it gives me such hope that a better way forward may soon be realized,” said Melanie Smith, LCA-VA advocate. “As a never smoker whose lung cancer was found at an early treatable stage, I am grateful for Senator Warner’s sensitivity, understanding and desire to help all those affected by lung cancer. Whether you are a current, former or never smoker – no one deserves lung cancer – no one”.
The majority of lung cancer cases are diagnosed in former smokers (60%) and never-smokers (20%). In addition, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women, among men and in every ethnic group. Military men and women are also at an elevated risk as compared to their civilian counterparts.
To read about S. 332 and H.R. 2112 and learn more about Lung Cancer Alliance go to (www.LungCancerAlliance.org).