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More Funding, Attention Sought for Lung-Cancer Research


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http://www.jointogether.org/sa/news/sum ... %2C00.html


Lung cancer may be the most deadly form of cancer in the U.S., but it lags behind other cancers in terms of fundraising and research, the Sacramento Bee reported Dec. 5.

Stigma rooted in the disease's association with smoking may be one reason why the federal government spent $1,829 per lung-cancer death this year on research, compared to $23,474 per breast-cancer death. Advocates are trying to boost research spending by noting, for example, that more people are getting the disease even though they never smoked, particularly women. They have even chided politicians like California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for tying the disease too closely to smoking.

The Lung Cancer Alliance says that nonsmokers and former smokers comprise the largest group of new lung-cancer patients. Eighty percent of lung-cancer patients have some history of smoking, but lung-cancer specialist David Gandara, M.D., says, "Twenty years ago, the typical patient was an older man who had a smoking history. It was 80 percent men and 20 percent women. Now, it's 60 percent men and 40 percent women."

Doctors also are seeing more cases of bronchioloalveolar carcinoma, which may have genetic links, as opposed to the more common squamous cell carcinoma.

Only 15 percent of lung-cancer patients survive more than five years, compared to 87 percent of breast-cancer patients. "Until we can increase awareness for early detection, we are not going to change the lung-cancer rates," said lung-cancer patient Carol Sill, who wears a clear ribbon edged in purple to signal the silent nature of the disease. "Fifteen years from now, I would hope the survival rate is going to be 80 to 95 percent."

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