CHICAGO, IL | October 28, 2015
The American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE, a national movement created to fight lung cancer in women, is dedicated to funding research that will lead to early detection, and more treatments - to give more people a fighting chance.
As the #1 cancer killer of women in the United States, many are unaware that anyone can get lung cancer and on average, less than half of all women diagnosed with lung cancer will be alive one year after diagnosis. Although there have been many advances in treatments to fight lung cancer, only 17 percent of lung cancer cases among women and men are diagnosed early. The earlier lung cancer is diagnosed, the more treatment options are available and ultimately the longer people survive. Additional research is needed to make a difference and to save lives.
Nationally presented by CVS Health, the LUNG FORCE initiative has been instrumental in pushing the agenda to make lung cancer in women a public health priority, drive policy change and increase research funding. As part of this, the Lung Association and its partners have joined together to invest in research to help improve patient outcomes.
"I was diagnosed with lung cancer in April of 2005. Despite aggressive treatment, my cancer continued to spread and within three years, had progressed to stage IV,” said Linnea Olson, a mother of three living with lung cancer. “I was told I had only a few months to live - however the arc of my story changed dramatically when I took a chance and enrolled in a phase I clinical trial."
"While I was only the fourth person in the world to receive this experimental treatment, I had an amazing response. I eventually developed resistance to that experimental therapy and in the seven years hence I've returned to chemotherapy and also enrolled in two more, early phase clinical trials," Olson said. "I wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for advances in medical research, and clinical trials are my next best hope."
The Lung Association has provided support to researchers and patients like Olson through several programs and initiatives with the goal of one day defeating lung cancer.
"It is validating to hear stories like Linnea's, and it's our goal to achieve more outcomes like hers," said Harold P. Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "The Lung Association is currently funding $6.49 million in research and has more than doubled its funding specifically for lung cancer research over the past two years. We're also actively calling for Congress to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health so it can grow our nation's lung cancer research investment to $300 million by 2020."
"Although the future may be uncertain for some, we are putting everything we have into changing the trajectory of this disease," Wimmer said. "We want researchers, patients and their loved ones to know that we're in their corner."
To advance this cause, American Lung Association researchers and experts have participated in major conferences such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, the American Thoracic Society and the American College of Chest Physicians to advance the fight to defeat lung cancer.
In addition to its legacy of providing junior investigators with the funds they need to initiate and grow their lung disease research careers, the Lung Association supports world-class leaders in lung cancer research with the potential to improve diagnostic and treatment options.
Currently, the Lung Association is funding a total of 25 lung cancer research projects at 18 institutions across 13 states. As an example, the Lung Association has funded research at the Massachusetts General Hospital's Center for Thoracic Cancers, and has enabled lung cancer patients to benefit from this cutting-edge research. The Thoracic Cancer Center was among the first in the nation to provide the new precision drugs for non-small cell lung cancer.
"When I first started out there were no targeted therapies. Now, we approach each patient with a huge sense of optimism," said Dr. Jeffrey Engelman, a 2011 Lung Cancer Discovery Award recipient and Director, Center for Thoracic Cancers Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. "I'm extremely excited that the pace of advances that have improved patients' lives is growing and growing."
The Lung Association is asking Americans to share their voices in the fight against lung cancer. Visit LUNGFORCE.org to share your voice. You can also join the conversation on the LUNG FORCE Facebook page and follow LUNG FORCE on Twitter and Instagram on social media using the #ShareYourVoice and #LUNGFORCE hashtags.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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