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New Report from Lung Cancer Alliance


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January 18, 2007

New reports from Lung Cancer Alliance detailed.

This trend article is an immediate alert from NewsRx to identify the most recent news developments at Lung Cancer Alliance.

Report 1: The Lung Cancer Alliance, an organization providing patient support and advocacy to those living with or at risk for lung cancer, hailed the research work of the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (I-ELCAP) published in the October 26, 2006 New England Journal of Medicine, which demonstrates early detection leads to higher survival rates.

The I-ELCAP study - the largest long-term study ever conducted by the world's leading experts in early detection of lung cancer - demonstrates that if lung cancer is detected and treated early, 92% of patients could expect to live 10 years. Lung cancer currently has a 15% 5-year survival rate and is considered to be one of the most lethal cancers.

"This is the most important breakthrough for the lung cancer community that has ever happened - and will happen for years to come," said Laurie Fenton, president of Lung Cancer Alliance. "It is a watershed moment."

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. The vast majority (70%) of diagnoses are late stage, causing most deaths in the first year.

Report 2: The Lung Cancer Alliance disputes an article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute claiming lung cancer screening can lead to over diagnosis of the disease.

"That's exactly what was said by the opponents of mammography screening 30 years ago," Laurie Fenton, president of Lung Cancer Alliance, said. "Yet, this is even more ludicrous. First of all, the study they refer to is forty years old and was so badly designed that it has already been repudiated by the experts years ago."

"Secondly, the study focused on x-rays not CT scans which, it is widely agreed, more accurately detect lung cancer tumors. I do not know why NCI would spend badly needed funding to rehash an old meaningless study when so much needs to be done on lung cancer. This disease continues to claim more lives each year than breast, prostate, colon, kidney, melanoma and liver cancers combined."

Report 3: A milestone was reached recently as the first ever bicameral bipartisan legislation was introduced in Congress declaring lung cancer a major national public health priority and calling for a 50% reduction in mortality within 9 years.

Unveiled during the Lung Cancer Alliance Advocacy Conference, Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) introduced S.Res. 408 for Senate consideration. Congressman Clay Shaw (R-FL) introduced H.Res. 739, a similar resolution, in the House of Representatives. Laurie Fenton, President of the Lung Cancer Alliance, praised the legislation as historic.

"This is tremendous," she said. "It is the first time we have the House and Senate recognizing that lung cancer is not a political issue, rather, it's a major public health epidemic affecting smokers and non-smokers. This must be addressed as a disease - not a punishment."

The bipartisan resolution requests the President to declare lung cancer a national public health priority and calls for a 50% reduction in lung cancer's high mortality rate by 2015. It lays out a multi -agency action blueprint emphasizing the need for a carefully coordinated approach among the federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as the U.S. Department of Defense.

Currently, lung cancer is under-funded and under-researched. Only $1,829 is spent per lung cancer death, the least amount of cancer research dollars per death for the nation's leading cancer killer. By comparison, breast cancer research receives $23,474 per estimated death, and prostate cancer receives $14,369.

"Lung cancer is the most lethal form of cancer in the United States," said Senator Hagel, whose state will be the first in the nation to initiate a state-wide screening program for lung cancer. "Over 900 Nebraskans will die from lung cancer in 2006. We have made great advances in breast and prostate cancer survival rates. We must commit ourselves to making the same progress in lung cancer."

Senator Clinton noted that lung cancer is now killing nearly twice as many women as breast cancer, with a disturbing increase of lung cancer in non-smoking women.

"Despite the gains we have made in cancer treatment and research, we have made far too little progress in addressing lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in our nation. As part of our overall battle against cancer, we must improve our research, treatment and detection efforts in order to increase the 5-year survival rate beyond 15%," Senator Clinton said.

Congressman Shaw, himself a lung cancer survivor, has been a spokesman for lung cancer in the House of Representatives. Recently he sent a letter signed by 73 members of both parties of the House asking the U.S. National Cancer Institute about their oft-quoted 2015 target for "ending the pain and death from all cancer."

"That cannot be done," said Shaw, "if we continue to under-fund research and early diagnosis in the biggest cancer killer."

The Lung Cancer Alliance is a national non-profit organization solely dedicated to patient support and advocacy for people living with lung cancer and those at risk for the disease.

© Copyright 2007, Pharma Business Week via NewsRx.com

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