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Lung Cancer Funding


Pamela

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I've been thinking a lot lately about lung cancer research funding. I would like to ask a few questions, and I hope someone can help me understand. I'll admit to ignorance about this subject, and I honestly would like to know.

Why isn't lung cancer research funded as well as other diseases (i.e., breast cancer, for one)? How do other diseases receive research funding? Is the majority from private, corporate or government sources?

I've read postings from some of you that blame the smoking stigma. Is that an assumption or is that what you've learned when you've tried to get funding for lung cancer?

I guess I'm surprised that smoking -- which is a very common habit -- would carry a stigma with regard to lung cancer research, especially when you consider the amount of funds devoted to AIDS research. In our society, the behaviors associated with the transmission of AIDS would appear to be just as preventable as smoking, but that doesn't appear to affect the funding. Unhealthy (and preventable) behaviors also account for a lot of heart disease, but there doesn't appear to be a stigma associated with that.

What makes one disease more popular for research funding than another, and what needs to happen to get more attention and $$$ for lung cancer research?

I would appreciate your thoughts on this. I'd like to see a cure for lung cancer -- or at least a lower morbidity rate -- in my lifetime, but I don't know how to participate in making that happen.

Pam

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What makes one disease more popular for research funding than another, and what needs to happen to get more attention and $$$ for lung cancer research?

That's the million dollar question. More federal dollars were allocated to colorectal cancer in 2004, which is less common and less lethal. One thing that hinders lung cancer research is that it is very difficult to diagnose; and currently impossible to screen for. Because of this, colon, breast and prostate cancer are much more productive research areas. They can all be diagnosed earlier and thus treated more successfully. Thus, more researchers are interested in those cancers. The more research dollars that are applied for, and the more successful that research, the more money the research garners in the future.

Finding a way to diagnose lung cancer earlier is a very complex problem. If I could solve that scientific problem, I'd be guaranteed a Nobel prize (although they'd have to create one in nursing just for me!). The difficulty of this scientific problem is part of the reason, in my opinion, for the funding disparity. Progress in treating and curing any type of cancer usually begins with early-stage cancer; and there are so few with early-stage lung cancer...

I've never heard an estimate of what corporations spend on cancer research, but the federal government has estimated it will spend about 1.5 billion for breast, colorectal, prostate and lung cancer in 2005. Of that, 297 million goes to lung cancer, the first time spending for lung cancer has exceeded that for colorectal cancer. Compare to 605 million for breast cancer and 337 million for prostate.

I think activism in the form of letter-writing, especially paired with your personal story, is the most effective way to change the situation. Write to the media, write to your legislators, talk to other people, join lung cancer organizations (such as Women Against Lung Cancer) - buy and wear a BreatheDeep bracelet, and so forth.

It is commonly acknowleged among health care researchers that AIDS activists changed the image of that disease from a "lifestyle problem" that affected only gay men to one of human suffering. The same thing is beginning, slowly, to happen for lung cancer. People have to keep the pressure up, keep the disease in the public eye, and use unfortunate opportunities such as Peter Jennings' death to call for justice in research funding and treatment.

It will happen.

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There is a rather simple and obvious answer to your questions if you think about it. Then again, I think you may already know that.

I figure the best I can do is just to try and educate as many people as possible about lung cancer and the need for funding more research. I can't solve the attitudes of people, but I can at least disseminate information.

Di

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I've read postings from some of you that blame the smoking stigma. Is that an assumption or is that what you've learned when you've tried to get funding for lung cancer?

To answer your specific question above, I am copying a portion of an interview with a Doctor that ran in The Houston Chronicle last year:

..."If it wasn't for lung cancer in women, (the rates would) really be on the decline," said Osborne, who estimates that 95 percent of lung cancers are related to smoking. "We're investing a lot of resources in trying to diagnose early ... when in fact all you've got to do is stop smoking and you won't get it."...

I pretty much think that said it all....

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Got this email from a friend, Question - Have any of you ever gotten an email for raising funds for lungs cancer? Ever bought food, clothing, etc and this act causes a corportate donation for lung cancer? We really need to get organized. If everyone quit smoking today, we would still see thousands and thousands of people suffering with lung cancer. - Read this email I got- We don't even have an exceptable screaning test, never mind getting one for free.

Favor to Ask

> It only takes a minute...

> * Y * 6 * Y

> Please tell ten friends to tell ten today! The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "donating a mammogram" for free (pink window in the middle).

> This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammogram in exchange for advertising.

> Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know.

> http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

> AGAIN , PLEASE TELL 10 FRIENDS TO TELL 10 TODAY

>

>

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I absolutely agree. The Newsweek article that we were all so proud of got some mixed reviews- much to my dismay- in the editors section this month.

There was a letter from a doctor who basically chastized the article by saying that CT Scans were not recognized as the acceptable form of early detection and that instead of having this done, people should talk to their doctors first- and only then if they are "at risk". Duh...we are ALL at risk.

We can't get the medical professionals on the same page, how are we supposed to enforce change as opposed to the smoking issue or early detection screening methods?

The only thing of certainty in my mind is that those dx. with LC really need support, and that money needs to be raised for research- hopefully everything else will follow.

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I have talked to many Doc's about CT scanning for early LC screening. It's pretty much like anything from what I have learned. It's a 50/50 situation.

50% of doc's agree on CT's for early detection of LC, and agree that smoking ISN'T the only cause of LC. And 50% of them DO NOT feel CT's are a good early detections tool, and they believe that LC IS caused only from smoking, or second hand smoke.

So the truth is, even the MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS ARE SPLIT down the MIDDLE on THIS ISSUE! :roll:

The only thing LC has going for them at this time in the area of early detection for LC is CT scans. They haven't come up with another way yet. Soooo, why don't they work a little harder to find a good method for early detections? :?

We need to SCREAM just the like Breast Cancer Patients DID and DO!! We NEED TO SCREAM LOUD and be HEARD!!

Hugs,

Con

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COntinue to write to your local and state governement and write everytime you can to your media outlets.

Distribute information, volunteer with hospitals and clinics to offer information and support.

And, if you have help, organize walks, vigils, fundraisers- anything you can to raise awareness and advocate against the disease.

It sounds mountainous- but make a list and do what you can.

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I was told by some doc's that in order to get attention you need to sit on your Capital's doorstep. That's what the Breast Cancer people did. They sat and made noise at there Capitals until someone heard them. And they never backed down.

That's what the Pro-life people do/did too!

I was told that writing letters really doesn't do much. (I don't know how true that is, but I was told that by a several politicians) And having said that, what ever became of the Petition everyone has been signing from WALC? Did that ever get anyone's attention? I have signed Petitions for years, but I never see anything become from them. HAS anyone? It would be nice to know if even that works? ALCASE (now ALC) had a petition for years, but nothing every became of it, nor did I ever see them post anything about the outcome of it. :?:shock:

We started to make noise here in Minnesota, and then I got sick and no one would take over the NOISE making. We worked very hard to get where we got, and it was sad to see it go down the tubes.

I would like to start doing that again one day. I'm hopeful and I never say never! We even had the Attorney General on our side.

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From my own experience, I think Connie is right about the legislators not giving the proper credit to letter writing campaigns and petitions. I've only ever gotten a computer generated "generic" reply to anything I have written or signed.

The way we have made noise around here is to keep writing to the media. Write them your stories, write to them about their health news and how LC should be included, write to magazines and shows- I alwyas get a response- but I'm not a lung cancer survivor so I seriously don't believe anyone would be interested in talking to me. I have however given some media outlets names of people here and they have been interviewed!!

So the best thing to do is NOT to give up. and yes, make as much NOISE as you can to whomever will listen.

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I guess Mrs. Reeve's didn't read the part about not smoking. Oh wait she didn't smoke and according to everything I have read she never has. So it's not that smoking causes LC it's that everyone believes it does which makes it a bad :evil: thing to back in government, when they are suing the tobacco companies for not telling everyone the truth in the first place. Unfortunately when stars or others start dying of LC then money will start pouring in from other areas for research.

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Unfortunately when stars or others start dying of LC then money will start pouring in from other areas for research

Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case. Numerous "stars" (more than I can count) have died of lung cancer, long before Peter Jennings. And several "stars" parents have lost the battle as well -- in recent years alone, Harrison Ford, Adam Sandler and Matt Lauer lost a parent to LC, and you don't hear much out of them.....I think it's up to US -- the "little people"!!

The only thing that is ever going to bring change is a WHOLE LOTTA NOISE!!!!!!! The stars aren't doing it so we have to, and we are slowly but surely making progress.

I take some comfort in the fact that three years ago, there were only one or two lung cancer walks taking place around the country. Last year, I know of at least 6 that happened. This year, according to www.lungcancerwalk.org, there are at least 10 (and I am sure there are a few not mentioned on that site).

We need to just keep rattling the cage....

I wrote a "Press Release" that I submitted to USA Today (of course, they have not responded). I will post it below. If anyone is interested in submitting it to their own local papers, feel free!

The Invisible Epidemic

Every 30 seconds, someone, somewhere in the world, dies of lung cancer. In our country alone, approximately 473 people died of lung cancer today. While these facts are startling, equally startling is the fact that lung cancer receives 10 times less federal funding per death than breast cancer research and 30 times less federal funding per death than HIV/AIDS research. Although easily claiming the title of “Number One Cancer Killer In Our Country”, there are no pink ribbons and no outpouring of support. A lung cancer diagnoses packs a double punch. Its victims are dying and no one seems to care. But thanks to a small group of survivors and family members honoring loved ones that have succumbed to this disease, that is all about to change.

A Lung Cancer Awareness movement is upon us. Where there once were none, there are now four lung cancer walks happening across our country this November, in recognition of relatively unknown “National Lung Cancer Awareness Month”. A visit to www.lungcancerwalk.org will find the four locations that have stepped out to the forefront: Pennsauken, NJ; Charlottesville, VA; Virginia Beach, VA; and Long Island, NY. Each event organized independently, born of it's own personal journey, but all coming together with one common goal -- to increase awareness and funding for the 172,000 American lives which are depending on it.

The time for action is now. Because, when it comes to lung cancer, every second counts.

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I'm hoping I have the attention of a local morning show. They did great work covering the death of Peter Jennings, I think, because they covered most of the bases, whereas much of the media focused on the smoking angle -- even after the news about Dana Reeve came to light.

Unfortunately, in order to pay the bills for Katrina, I bet some programs will be cut, and funding for many will be frozen or suspended. But, getting out the word can come back to help in the long run once people begin to have a better understanding.

I don't put much stock in writing to my representatives in Congress either. They are political animals, and will go the way the most favorable wind blows them. Especially when 2006 is a mid-term election year.

I've had the best results locally, and hope that holds.

A few days ago, I was in line at the Starbuck's and a woman told me she liked my button (Cancer Sucks). Then, she began to tell me that she'd never had cancer, but felt it was important to support research in case she ever did. Plus, she would be walking in an upcoming fundraiser for breast cancer research, and would I care to join them? No, I said -- I don't have breast cancer. The cancer I have will kill almost twice the number of women this year, however, yet I don't think I've heard about many walks or runs or bike rides for lung cancer research. Have you? (Strange look) I just smiled at her and that was it. Oh well.

Di

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This thought is worth thinking about:

Thousands are diagnosed with lung cancer ever year and wage a huge battle that saps their strength, a small number survive.

The survivors are small in number to make a big noise.

I pray that our families can continue the battle for us.

Donna G

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