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Senators Cochran, Boxer, Brownback, Vitter Join As Cosponsors of Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act

LCA Commends Additional Senate Co-sponsors

Washington, DC [September 24, 2008]-- Today, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) commended the support of Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Thad Cochran (R-MS) and David Vitter (R-LA) as cosponsors of S.3187: The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act.  

The bill, introduced by Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Hagel (R-NE), requires the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Defense and Veterans Affairs to combine forces on a comprehensive, coordinated plan of action to reduce lung cancer mortality by 50% by 2015.

“My home state of Mississippi has one of the nation’s highest lung cancer mortality rates, so I understand the devastating impact this disease can have,” said Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) who is the highest ranking Republican member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  “I am pleased this legislation includes provisions that will authorize increased funding for lung cancer research and stimulate cooperation among relevant federal agencies.”

The bill would establish in law the first ever multi-agency, comprehensive program targeted at lung cancer, and would authorize funding for a five year program to reduce the mortality rate of lung cancer, which causes more deaths each year than all other major cancers combined.

Lung cancer takes the lives of three times as many men as prostate cancer and nearly twice the number of women as breast cancer. In fact, more women are dying each year from lung cancer than breast, ovarian, cervical and uterine cancers combined.

"It is critical that we prioritize lung cancer by expanding lung cancer research initiatives and increasing access to life-saving treatments for patients," said Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), who is co-chair of the Senate Cancer Caucus and co-author of the Senate resolution last year that laid the groundwork for S.3187.

All agencies of HHS, including the National Cancer Institute, Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration will be required to act in coordination and to insure accountability the bill requires an annual report to Congress on the progress made in reducing lung cancer’s high mortality rate.

“Cancer impacts millions of American lives every year,” said Senator David Vitter (R-LA).  “The provisions contained within this important legislation will allow for the development of new treatments and drugs that could mean the difference between life and death for many patients.”

 The bill also directs the Secretaries of Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans’ Affairs (VA) to implement an early detection and disease management program for military personnel who are at high risk for lung cancer because of smoking or exposure to carcinogens during active duty.

 “Senators Boxer, Cochran, Vitter and Brownback have demonstrated their leadership and commitment to this cause, first with their unanimous support of S.Res 87 last year and now with their cosponsorship of this historic legislation,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, Lung Cancer Alliance President and CEO.  “With their support, the lung cancer community takes a great step toward having this long misunderstood and underfunded disease more adequately addressed.”