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Boston Metro Letter to the Editor

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Hey guys,

Yippee! That was my letter to the editor in the Metro (someone posted it a few days ago, thanks!)AND someone wrote a response in support of my letter the very next day. That's TWO days of awareness in Boston. I was so excited.

This is my letter, followed by the response.


The tragic death of Dana Reeve this week underscores the drastic underfunding of lung cancer, the deadliest form of cancer.

Until my own father was diagnosed, I had no idea that lung cancer kills more people than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. That is why I am shocked that lung cancer receives so few government dollars to research early detection tools or treatments. In 2004, breast cancer research received nearly $14,000 per death; prostate cancer got over $10,000, and $4,600 was earmarked for colorectal cancer. Lung cancer received a pitiful $1,700. Increased funding for breast, prostrate, and colorectal cancers has had a direct impact on their increased survival rates. Yet lung cancer continues to have low funding and a frighteningly low survival rate – just 15%.

There are no early detection tools for lung cancer. By the time it is symptomatic, the disease has spread and is incurable. My own father received routine screenings for other cancers. Although he was a former smoker with a family history of lung cancer, there were no effective methods to detect the disease in its early, treatable stages. He died just 17 days after diagnosis.

The lung cancer community desperately needs more funding. We need effective diagnostic tools and more treatment options, and we need them now.


Underfunding is mean-spirited


• Jamaica Plain

Regarding “Lung cancer needs more funding” (March 14): I’d like to add to Stacey Bennett’s letter regarding the shameful underfunding of lung cancer research. When it comes to smokers or to lung cancer, it seems the public has a case of “terminal mean-spiritedness.” Think of the outcry if money was witheld from AIDS research because of the possibility that those with AIDs had been promiscuous or had unprotected sex. What if there was hardly any money given for kidney or liver research because some people abuse alcohol? What if society refused to fund heart disease research because those people might be overweight or didn’t exercise? Since most of us could find ourselves in one of these groups, if we applaud the denial of funding for lung cancer research, we might wake up to find ourselves targets of the same meanspirited blame game.

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