Frequently Asked Questions
What is LUNG FORCE?
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.
What are we doing to defeat lung cancer?
The Lung Association is committed to a comprehensive approach to defeat lung cancer. Efforts in prevention, early detection, awareness, research and support all move us closer to making sure fewer people are diagnosed and those who are diagnosed, live longer. Here are a few things we are doing in each key area:
- There are several risk factors for lung cancer. Tobacco is the greatest risk factor and we want to ensure that anyone who wants to quit smoking has the resources to do so. Our Freedom From Smoking® program is the gold standard in quit smoking programs. Our most recent CVS in-store campaign included an activation for donors to help create tobacco-free communities. Through this partnership we are able to offer discounts to quit smoking medications at CVS Pharmacy and our online quit smoking program Freedom From Smoking® Plus.
- Our tobacco control policy efforts include advocating for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight over tobacco products, coverage of tobacco cessation treatments under health insurance plans, smokefree workplace laws, increased tobacco taxes and other legislative measures and community programs that are crucial to reducing tobacco use and eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke. Learn more >>
- Radon is the second leading risk factor for lung cancer. Radon is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that can build up in homes and workplaces to dangerous levels. We continue to educate the public about radon and were leaders in developing the National Radon Action Plan. Learn more>>
- Another risk factor for lung cancer is air pollution. The American Lung Association has led the fight for healthy air for more than 50 years. Our primary tool is advocacy. We work to influence public policy and ensure enforcement of laws that help us clean up our air. Whether in the courtroom or on Capitol Hill, we constantly work to make the air we all share cleaner and healthier. Learn more>>
- We also raise awareness through LUNG FORCE that anyone can get lung cancer and the fact that sometimes there is no known cause. We work to put lung cancer on everyone's radar so people know the risk factors, signs and symptoms.
- Currently lung cancer screening through low-dose CT scan is recommended for those who meet certain high-risk criteria based on age and smoking history. We played a key role in getting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to cover screening for the high-risk population. We developed a variety of resources to help people navigate the lung cancer screening process and we continue to raise awareness of lung cancer screening. Learn more>>
- Through LUNG FORCE Walks, Expos, LUNG FORCE Hero stories, media events and more, we are raising awareness of lung cancer.
- Our collective voices are making a difference. Since the first Women's Lung Health Barometer in 2014, there have been positive shifts in women's perceptions of lung cancer. Learn more>>
- We are also committed to addressing lung cancer stigma. We've conducted research to better understand stigma and how to reduce it through messaging. Several key resources including a report, a training and blog post emerged out of our research. Learn more>>
- Funding research is a critical part of the American Lung Association's work. We support a rich array of studies in lung cancer to help develop better treatment options and improve methods of early detection. In the past four years, including our LUNG FORCE investments, we have funded $6.7 million in lung cancer research grants. Learn more>>
- For the second year in a row, lung cancer advocates from all 50 states joined together to urge senators and representatives in Washington, D.C. to advocate for quality, affordable healthcare and increased funding for lung cancer research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Learn more>>
Support for Patients and Caregivers
- Our Lung Cancer HelpLine is staffed by healthcare professionals eager to help answer any lung health questions patients and caregivers may have. Learn more>>
- Our Lung Cancer Survivors online support community is a place for patients and caregivers to connect with others who are facing lung cancer and receive support and guidance. Learn more>>
The lung cancer section of our website contains comprehensive, easy-to-understand information and resources for anyone facing lung cancer. Our Lung Cancer Navigator tool can help direct you exactly to the information you want and need. Learn more>>
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.