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WASHINGTON, D.C. [December 22, 2010]--Today, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) called 2010 “a watershed year” for lung cancer that included increased research funding, additional Congressional support, a new national coalition of key policy organizations, and the validation of CT screening - a convergence of forces that can reverse the historic underfunding and neglect of lung cancer.
LCA President and CEO Laurie Fenton Ambrose said, “This is the most important year to date and looking back years from now 2010 will be seen as the turning point.”
“We are building a solid coalition of support within Congress and within the top public health, medical and social justice organizations in the country,” she said.
Even as Congress wraps up its work this week, support continued to grow in the lame duck session with the addition of Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), Congressman Ben Chandler (D-KY) and Congressman Geoff Davis (R-KY) as co-sponsors of the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act - a bicameral and bi-partisan bill that authorizes the first comprehensive research program specifically for lung cancer.
To date 61 members of the House of Representatives and 22 Senators have signed on.
Meanwhile, the Native Indian Health Board recently joined the growing list of over 40 highly respected institutes and organizations calling for a more compassionate and comprehensive plan to address all aspects of lung cancer.
Earlier this year, Congress appropriated an additional $15 million for the lung cancer research program which was launched with $20 million in fiscal year 2009 through the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research program. Additional funding for fiscal year 2011 has made it through Committee but the final dollar amount will not be known until Congress completes action on the new budget -- now slated for March 2011.
“Couple our work of building support within Congress and growing our national network with the announcement by Dr. Harold Varmus, Director of the National Cancer Institute, regarding the results of the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST) and you can understand why we believe this to be a critical turning point in the history of the disease,” continued Fenton Ambrose.
The eight year old NLST of 50,000 people at high risk for lung cancer was suspended before its anticipated completion because of the strength of the evidence that CT scans can detect lung cancer at early stage and reduce mortality.
“Clearly we are ending 2010 on a high note and we will be well positioned to engage the 112th Congress in the new year,” concluded Fenton Ambrose.