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American Lung Association Teams Up with Valerie Harper and Kellie Pickler to Launch LUNG FORCE, National Public Health Initiative to Fight Lung Cancer in Women

CVS Caremark signs on as national presenting sponsor to raise awareness of the #1 cancer killer of women

(May 13, 2014) - Chicago, IL

Today, the American Lung Association, in partnership with national presenting sponsor, CVS Caremark, unveiled LUNG FORCE, a new initiative to make lung cancer in women a public health priority, drive policy change and increase research funding.

According to the Lung Association’s inaugural Women’s Lung Health Barometer, a survey of more than 1,000 American adult women that measures women’s knowledge and perceptions about lung cancer, women’s awareness of lung cancer’s impact is terribly low. Despite being the #1 cancer killer of women, the Barometer revealed that only 1 percent of women cited lung cancer as a cancer that is top-of-mind for them. The reality is that more than 108,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year and, on average, less than half will be alive next year.

The Realities of Lung Cancer

The Barometer revealed 78 percent of women are not aware that lung cancer has killed more women than breast cancer since 1987. The truth is anyone can get lung cancer, even if you’re part of the 86 percent of women who don’t smoke. In fact, two-thirds of lung cancer cases are in those who have never smoked or have successfully quit smoking. These findings underscore the lack of awareness and the need for LUNG FORCE.

“Together we have to make lung cancer in women a public health priority and change our thinking about this disease. We hope that with increased awareness and education, women will join the fight against lung cancer and for lung health,” said Harold Wimmer, National President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Lung Association. “We are proud to introduce LUNG FORCE and honored to have CVS Caremark as a partner in this new movement that unites women to stand together against lung cancer.”

Introducing LUNG FORCE

In its first year, LUNG FORCE seeks to unite women against lung cancer and for lung health, and encourage them to raise their voices for change. Through nationwide efforts, LUNG FORCE will make lung cancer a cause that people care about and act on, educate and empower patients and healthcare providers, and raise critical funds for lung cancer research.

CVS Caremark Signs On as National Presenting Sponsor

As part of its continued commitment to healthy living, CVS Caremark, the national presenting sponsor of LUNG FORCE, will support the initiative via an in-store promotion throughout June. CVS/pharmacy customers will have the opportunity to contribute to LUNG FORCE at checkout with all proceeds earmarked to support the movement. Earlier this year, CVS Caremark announced its decision to remove tobacco from its retail stores.

“We are excited to be part of LUNG FORCE and look forward to spreading the word about this movement,” said Helena B. Foulkes, President, CVS/pharmacy. “This partnership aligns with our commitment to help our customers on the path to better health. We believe our customers and employees will raise their voices and rally behind this important women’s health issue.”

Stars Raise Their Voices and Join LUNG FORCE

Lung cancer is a disease that has personally affected actress and author, Valerie Harper and entertainer and country music star, Kellie Pickler. Their experiences motivated them to join LUNG FORCE.

Harper, widely known from television as Rhoda Morgenstern, has recently become a beacon of hope and inspiration for cancer patients. In 2009, Harper was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, and after her tumor was removed, went back to normal life. In 2013, she began to experience strange symptoms that were discovered to be an unusual metastasis of her lung cancer. Given as few as three months to live, Harper decided to set aside the death sentence, work on her treatment and go on living life as fully as possible. More than a year later, she’s still hard at work, guest starring on television shows and actively sharing her cancer experience with millions of Americans. Last week, she testified in front of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Aging about cancer and called for an increased investment in cancer research funding.

“I feel fortunate that I have been able to defy the odds of this challenging disease given that my mother died of lung cancer although, like me, she never smoked,” said Harper. “And while I have my newfound strength and the opportunity, I want to make lung cancer a disease that people care about and act on. Whether that’s educating key decision makers or working for advances in early detection, I am committed to seeing LUNG FORCE succeed in extending and saving women’s lives.”

When she was 15, Pickler lost her grandmother to lung cancer just one day after she was diagnosed. Pickler’s grandmother played an important role in her life and continues to serve as an inspiration for her work. In her remembrance, Pickler included a song called “My Angel” on her debut album, Small Town Girl.

“One of the hardest things I’ve had to experience was losing my grandmother to lung cancer,” said Pickler. “Not only was she a loving, strong, and gracious person, she was also the woman that I called ‘mom.’ I support LUNG FORCE in hopes that others won’t have to lose such amazing women in their lives.”

Pickler appears alongside Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, Jewel, in the first LUNG FORCE public service announcement. The PSA calls on women to understand lung cancer’s impact, share what they know with others, and join the fight at LUNGFORCE.org.

Turn Turquoise to Support LUNG FORCE

As part of the launch of LUNG FORCE and the inaugural LUNG FORCE Turquoise Takeover during National Women’s Lung Health Week (May 11th – 17th) more than 90 landmarks including Niagara Falls (New York) and the Big "G" in Ghirardelli Square (San Francisco) will turn turquoise in support of the women’s lung health movement. At the same time, more than 50 proclamations will be issued by government officials. Americans can show their support for LUNG FORCE by visiting LUNGFORCE.org to take the LUNG FORCE pledge, turning their social media channels turquoise and using the #LUNGFORCE hashtag when sharing posts about the movement. They can also help on the local level by joining a LUNG FORCE Walk in their area to help raise funds for research, advocacy and education.

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