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Frequently Asked Questions


LUNG FORCE is a nationwide initiative led by the American Lung Association to unite women to stand together against lung cancer.

We work to improve awareness of lung cancer and be a force that changes the startling facts.

  • We aim to change people’s minds about what it means to have lung cancer—so that everyone understands that anyone can get lung cancer.
  • We raise our voices for research innovation that will lead to early detection for all and better treatments that give everyone a fighting chance.

Why is lung cancer the focus?

Today, lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer of both men and women in the United States. It also has one of the lowest five-year survival rates of all cancer types. Every two and a half minutes, someone in the U.S. is told they have lung cancer. Despite the startling statistics, this is a health issue that has not been adequately addressed.

With the advent of new lung cancer screening guidelines and other advances in personalized medicine, this is a critical moment in time. We must now help advance the conversation and make a difference in the fight against lung cancer.

Is LUNG FORCE focused on just lung cancer? What about other lung diseases?

While lung cancer is the major focus of the LUNG FORCE movement, the American Lung Association is also committed to fighting all lung diseases and will continue our efforts to provide support, critical resources and funding for our programs focused on COPD and asthma, among many others.

As an organization, we are devoted to improving the lung health of all people.

Why is LUNG FORCE uniting women?

For women, the lung cancer statistics are sobering; lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of women and has one of the lowest five-year survival rates of all cancer types, at 17.7 percent. The rate of new lung cancer cases in women has increased 94 percent over the last 39 years.

Not only are women disproportionately affected by lung disease, but they also influence more than 80 percent of the healthcare decisions for their families. By educating women, we will expand our impact and increase the likelihood that women will not only make healthy decisions for themselves, but also for their families—including the men, women and children that they love.

What role do men have in LUNG FORCE? What about men affected by lung cancer?

Men have an important role to play in the LUNG FORCE movement. With the rate of new lung cancer cases in women increasing by 94 percent over the last 39 years, we encourage men to support the women in their lives who may be impacted. LUNG FORCE may be focused on activating women and fighting lung cancer in women, yet, raising awareness and furthering education will help everyone in the lung cancer community.

Men can support LUNG FORCE by learning the facts and sharing with friends and family, demonstrating they care by advocating for policy changes that will protect lung health and joining and donating to a fundraising LUNG FORCE Walk near them. These walks raise funds for research, advocacy, education and awareness.

What is the meaning of the LUNG FORCE symbol and color?

The color turquoise and the “whoosh of breath” icon both are reminiscent of air, breathing and healthy lungs. It also symbolizes the “force” that it will take to change the statistics about lung health. This particular color of blue—turquoise—is also a color often used by other lung health organizations. And because we want to build a movement, we wanted to choose a color that would work well for the whole community.

Where does my LUNG FORCE donation go?

Through LUNG FORCE, we plan to invest $10 million in lung cancer research; and $5 million in increasing public health promotion including awareness of early detection tools, such as CT screening; providing patients with information about clinical trials, biomarker testing and support from the first day of diagnosis; and advocating for increasing federal funding for lung cancer research from $362 million today to $450 million by 2020. Donations will help benefit LUNG FORCE and the overall mission of the American Lung Association. By supporting the American Lung Association, you are helping us fight for all those affected by lung disease. Your financial contribution supports research, program development, public policy, and sharing up-to-date information on respiratory illnesses, their treatment and management.

Does talking about smoking and lung cancer increase or decrease stigma around the disease?

This is a widely debated topic. Research shows us that opinions vary widely, in some cases, dependent on smoking status. The data is clear: anyone can get lung cancer, whether they ever smoked or not. However, the data also clearly show the number one risk factor for lung cancer is smoking. Prevention and cessation have saved millions of lives and been integral to the Lung Association’s mission for 50 years.

Strong prevention messages have succeeded in cementing the public’s view that lung cancer and smoking are related. However, an unintended consequence of this successful messaging has been the stigma many smokers, former smokers and non-smokers feel. The first question people ask upon hearing about another person’s diagnosis is typically “Did they smoke?” The stigma makes current or former smokers feel that they could somehow be to blame, as if anyone deserves this terrible disease. And, for never smokers, the stigma makes them believe they get less empathy for their diagnosis.

Our audience for LUNG FORCE is all women, regardless of their smoking status, and we plan to communicate with the 86 percent of the female population who don’t smoke, plus the 14 percent who are smokers.

Lastly, we commend those who want to take the step to quit smoking and want to ensure they are aware that the Lung Association supports them and has many resources that can help.

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