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Washington, DC (Friday, July 8, 2011)—Today, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) praised Congresswoman Donna Christensen (D-VI) for her continued leadership on lung cancer issues and for bringing the issue to the floor during defense spending debates, for the upcoming fiscal year, in the House of Representatives last night.
Christensen cited the grim statistics on lung cancer, the leading cancer killer in every ethnic group, and its disproportionate impact on veterans whose service has put them at even higher risk.
“As a physician, I know that success against lung cancer requires that we approach lung cancer comprehensively just as we do for other major illnesses,” she said.
Nearly one out of every three cancer deaths is due to lung cancer, and despite the fact that no significant progress has been made in reducing its 85% mortality rate, a comprehensive, coordinated plan of action has never been developed.
Christensen, who has been the primary sponsor of lung cancer legislation for the past four years, said: “We owe it to our Nation's heroes to coordinate early screening, treatment, and care, and reduce lung cancer mortality among members of the Armed Forces and our veterans, whose exposure to carcinogens during active duty service is a known contributor to their increased lung cancer risk.”
In response, the House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member, Norm Dicks (D-WA), agreed and gave assurances of his commitment to work with the Congresswoman on the issues.
He also noted that an additional $10.2 million for lung cancer was being included in the Department of Defense (DOD) Appropriations package for FY2012, referring to the early detection research program LCA was able to have established within Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) at DOD in 2009.
If the new infusion of funding is also approved by the Senate, as it was by the House last night, the total amount funneled to researchers through that program to-date will equal $58 million.
LCA President and CEO, Laurie Fenton-Ambrose praised Congresswoman Christensen for her “passionate and persistent leadership” on lung cancer issues.
“Given the sorry state of lung cancer, the underfunding of research, and the stigma and negativity that have been associated with this disease for too long, we need that kind of passionate and persistent leadership to finally bring about a change in federal lung cancer policy, and we are deeply grateful,” she said.
Fenton-Ambrose also praised Congressman Dicks for his support for lung cancer research funding and his commitment for a coordinated plan of action.
“Now that we have had scientific validation that CT screening those at high risk for lung cancer can dramatically reduce lung cancer deaths, we must move forward aggressively to integrate early detection, smoking cessation, increased research into non-tobacco related lung cancer and better disease management,” she said.
Lung Cancer Alliance is the only national non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to patient support and advocacy for those living with or at risk for lung cancer. Lung Cancer Alliance is committed to leading the movement to reverse decades of stigma and neglect by empowering those with or at risk for the disease, elevating awareness and changing health policy.