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LCA Hails Most Comprehensive Cancer Legislation Since 1971; Cites Breakthroughs in Lung Cancer

Washington, DC [March 29, 2007]--Lung Cancer Alliance President Laurie Fenton-Ambrose called the new comprehensive federal effort on cancer research, early detection and new treatments, introduced in the U.S. Senate today, “the most significant step forward in the past 35 years for cancer initiatives.”

The National Cancer Act of 2007, introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sam Brownback (R-KS), is a far-ranging bill including lung cancer early detection research, incentives to develop drugs that prevent cancer and targeted therapies.  It encourages new research into environmental causes of cancer, education payments to bolster the numbers of cancer researchers and care providers and Medicare coverage for coordinators to help cancer patients navigate the complicated treatment system. The bill authorizes a new lung cancer early detection research program funded through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and sets up new incentives for the development of drugs that will treat precancerous conditions to prevent cancer from developing.

Fenton-Ambrose highly praised the work of both Senators who are also co-chairs of the Senate Cancer Caucus. 

“We are deeply grateful for the enormous amount of time and energy that Senators Feinstein, Brownback and their staff have devoted to this comprehensive cancer initiative,” said Fenton-Ambrose.  “This bill is the result of their years of study into the impact of cancer on our country and recognizes the need to bring cancer research and treatment into the 21st century. More importantly, they have recognized that lung cancer should not be overlooked.”

“We will not end death and suffering from cancer until we find new ways to combat the leading cancer killer: lung cancer,” said Senator Feinstein.  “This cancer may one day become a chronic, manageable illness, but meeting this goal will require an investment in research and new strategies for prevention and early detection.”

“It is vital that we act today to address the most lethal cancer in America--lung cancer,” said Senator Brownback.  “This comprehensive, bipartisan bill addresses the lung cancer epidemic in America with a two-pronged strategy: through prevention of the onset of this disease using chemopreventitive or cancer prevention drugs, and using a screening that has shown to increase the survival rate of persons afflicted with lung cancer from 15 percent to about 90 percent.  As we move forward with these efforts, we will keep in mind the legacies of those Americans we have recently lost to lung cancer, such as the late Representative Charlie Norwood.”

“This could have a profound impact on lung cancer,” added Fenton-Ambrose who noted that the bill calls for a broader collection of specimens from cancer patients to accelerate the genomic mapping of the most lethal cancers, including lung cancer.

The bill also requires the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to give Congress a detailed report within six months of how they have spent their funding over the past five years, with specifics on each cancer type, and how NCI intends to reach its oft-proclaimed goal of “ending the pain and suffering from cancer” by 2015.

“In every meeting we have had with the Director and other top officials of NCI,” concluded Fenton Ambrose, “We have been warning that the 2015 goal cannot be met if research into lung cancer, which causes 30 percent of all cancer deaths, remains so profoundly under funded.”