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Lung Cancer Awareness Month


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HOPE is the theme of the fifth Lung Cancer Awareness Month (LCAM).

ALCASE's poster, which will reach thousands of medical centers, celebrates Hope and makes the point that "No one deserves lung cancer." As in previous years, we’re sending thousands of educational kits nationwide and including lung cancer facts and advocacy tips to encourage wider public involvement.

There is hope for people facing lung cancer—whether you have the disease or are helping someone who does. On the personal level, hope grows when you have some control over decisions about your medical care, such as discussing all your treatment options and how best to feel as good as possible during and after treatment. More people with lung cancer are finding useful information, through websites and print materials from ALCASE and other cancer groups, to bring to physician visits. Finding personal support through in-person groups or with a Phone Buddy can provide comfort and connection. Living as if the disease is only part of your life and finding meaning in each moment is another way to nurture hope.

As our continuing tracking of medical research shows, there is progress in answering some challenging medical questions, too. There are screening studies and others testing the effectiveness and side effects of experimental drugs. Some of the agents are so-called "targeted therapies" that work differently than current chemotherapies. There are more funding sources for investigators, too. In recent years, several national foundations have formed and their awards will help boost the relatively low level of federal research dollars the NCI offers.

ALCASE staff will speak at lung cancer seminars around the country, at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center, Loyola University, and the Virginia Hospital Medical Center in Arlington. Vanderbilt and Pittsburgh are home to two of the seven Lung Cancer Special Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) funded by the National Cancer Institute. Key volunteers are distributing thousands of our brochures to hospitals and clinics that may not yet know of our programs. Others plan to contact local media and get in touch with their state and federal legislators about lung cancer issues. See www.congress.org for quick ways to contact your elected representatives, health agencies, and the media.

Legislatively, lung cancer is beginning to get the attention of more members of Congress. Our representative in Washington, D.C. is working with congressional staffers on several initiatives. One directs the National Cancer Institute to report on how it will implement recommendations of its Lung Cancer Progress Review Group. Another calls for a lung cancer-screening program for veterans of the armed services (many of whom became addicted to cigarettes the military distributed free). A third encourages development of approaches to protect high-risk people from developing lung cancer. Hopeful initiatives such as these need your dedicated involvement.

Other organizations are also active during Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Medical centers feature informational displays and workshops. Lung cancer survivors, their family and friends organize local events that help create more public awareness of lung cancer and compassion for poeple facing the disease. Hope and progress result from these actions, too. Let us know what you're doing and we'll add it to our LCAM section at www.alcase.org details.

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