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Lung Cancer Alliance Strongly Endorses ASCO Selection of Top Cancer Advances in 2011

Lung Cancer Screening And Newly Approved Drug In Top Five

Washington, DC, [Tuesday, December 6, 2011]— Today, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA)  strongly endorsed the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) selection of CT screening for early lung cancer detection and the approval of Xalkori, a targeted drug therapy for late stage lung cancer, as two of the top five advances in cancer care for 2011.

ASCO, founded in 1964 and the leading authority on clinical oncology, published these top cancer advances in the Journal of Clinical Oncology yesterday.

Laurie Fenton-Ambrose, LCA President & CEO, said ASCO’s selection of lung cancer screening and a targeted lung cancer drug as the second and third most important cancer advances in 2011 “underscores the fact that we are at the tipping point in changing lung cancer outcomes.”

“By working together through the combination of screening and improved treatments, coupled with prevention and wellness programs, we will finally dramatically reduce lung cancer mortality,” Fenton-Ambrose said.

Mark A. Socinski, M.D., a leading expert in lung cancer research, and Director of the Lung Cancer Section of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine commended ASCO’s selection as justified stating, “Recognition of these lung cancer advancements signifies a new era in our understanding of the biology of the disease and the importance of early detection.”   

LCA has been building an alliance of national organizations representing medical professionals, researchers, institutions, veterans, minority healthcare, women’s health and labor unions in support of moving aggressively and comprehensively on lung cancer. The 5-year survival rate for lung cancer still hovers at 15%, virtually unchanged in forty years.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, taking more lives than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers combined. Eighty percent of those being diagnosed now are former or never smokers.

ASCO picked the results of the eight year long, 50,000 person randomized controlled trial by the National Cancer Institute which validated that CT screening for lung cancer can reduce lung cancer deaths in a high risk population as the second most important cancer advance in 2011.

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Crizotinib (Xalkori) for patients with advanced lung cancer who have a specific gene mutation was the third top choice.

The trial of a targeted therapy, Vemurafenib (Zelboraf), for advanced melanoma was ASCO’s top choice. Fourth choice was FDA’s approval of Ipilimumab (Yervoy) for metastatic melanoma, and fifth was the first conclusive evidence of the preventative potential of Exemestane (Aromasin) in reducing breast cancer risk.

Lung Cancer Alliance is the only national non-profit dedicated to providing support and advocacy for those living with or at risk for lung cancer.  LCA is committed to reversing decades of stigma and neglect by empowering those with or at risk for lung cancer, elevating awareness and changing health policy at both the federal and state level. For more information visit: www.lungcanceralliance.org.

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