Lung Cancer Alliance and Bonnie J Addario Lung Cancer Foundation Ask ABC News To Clarify Jennings Report
April 6, 2010
John Banner, Executive Producer
Thomas Nagorski, Senior Line Producer
ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer
47 West 66th St. 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10023
Dear Mr. Banner and Mr. Nagorski:
Peter Jennings did a great service in going public with
his lung cancer diagnosis a few months before he died in 2005. But the
professional reporter in Mr. Jennings would have taken a much harder
look at lung cancer statistics for the memorial piece on his death
from lung cancer five years ago. The rosy scenario you presented is
not accurate. Lung cancer mortality has not dropped more than any
other cancer and indeed it is rising in women.
The death rate for lung cancer is not “falling faster
than for any other cancer,” as was stated in the report. Among men,
the mortality rate for lung cancer has fallen by 11.7% since 1975, but
even more for prostate cancer (24%) and colon cancer (37%). In women,
the mortality rate for lung cancer has risen 128% since 1965, while
the rate for breast cancer has fallen by 25% and colon cancer by 42%.
Over 800,000 people have died of lung cancer since his death in 2005.
According to prevalence figures for 2006 published by
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60% of lung cancer
patients are former - not current - smokers and another 20% never
smoked at all.
Smoking rates have dropped and hopefully one day they
will drop to zero. Nearly 50% of adult men smoked in the 50’s and that
number is now down to 23%. Women peaked in the 1960’s at 33% and the
prevalence among women now stands at 17.4%.
Despite the drop in smoking rates over the past 40
years, the 5-year survival rate is still only 15%. One in every three
cancer deaths is due to lung cancer.
We respectfully request that a more comprehensive report
be given to this deadly disease which has been so stigmatized and
underfunded. Lung cancer is a public health epidemic that smoking
cessation alone will not cure. As Peter Jennings said in the clip you
played for the memorial: “Now do more.”
President & CEO
Lung Cancer Alliance
Bonnie J. Addario
Founder & Chair, President
Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation