Lung Cancer Alliance Announces Important First Step Cleared for More Federal Funding for Lung Cancer Research
Additional $10.5 million approved in FY2013 Department of Defense Lung Cancer Research Program for 5th Consecutive Year
WASHINGTON, DC [Wednesday, May 16 2012]—Today, Lung Cancer Alliance announced that the first and significant legislative hurdle in securing new Department of Defense (DOD) funding for lung cancer research has been cleared. An additional $10.5 million was included in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense FY2013 funding report.
This is the same House Appropriations Subcommittee that in FY2009, at the request of Lung Cancer Alliance, established the first-ever Lung Cancer Research Program (LCRP) within the Department of Defense (DOD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) and allocated $20 million to fund early detection research targeting at risk military.
Lung Cancer Alliance secured another $15 million the following year in FY2010, $12.8 million in the FY2011, and $10 million in FY2012, for a total of $57.8 million secured to date.
If the FY2013 $10.5 million allocation successfully completes the full legislative process, it would bring total lung cancer research funding secured by Lung Cancer Alliance via this pipeline to nearly $70 million to date.
There are additional hurdles ahead. The Defense appropriation bill is scheduled for markup before the full Appropriations Committee tomorrow. The provision must also be approved by the Senate and then await the signature of the President on the entire FY2013 DOD Appropriations bill. But inclusion of lung cancer funding at this stage of the process is a significant development and signals that the program remains strongly endorsed.
“Securing increased federal research funding for all aspects of lung cancer has been, and will continue to be, a core priority of our organization,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President and CEO of Lung Cancer Alliance, “and we remain grateful to congressional leaders for their continued backing of this specific and important program.”
Lung Cancer Alliance Chairman of the Board, Admiral T. Joseph Lopez, USN (Ret.) strongly urged a more direct focus on screening high risk military men and women for lung cancer through this program.
“We know that our military are at higher risk of being diagnosed and dying of lung cancer than the civilian population and we know now, as a result of the recent large scale trial carried by the National Cancer Institute that screening a high risk population with low dose CT scans before they have symptoms can save tens of thousands of lives a year,” he said.
“Our military and veterans deserve the benefit of this life-saving technology now, not years from now,” he said. “This program has to do more to use the tools we have available, just as research programs do for breast, prostate and colon cancers,” said Admiral Lopez, who played a key role in securing the original congressional support for lung cancer program.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women and every ethnic group and takes more lives each year that breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers combined.
Without screening, the majority of lung cancers are diagnosed at such late stage that the five year survival rate is only 15%—virtually unchanged since the 1971’s declaration of “War on Cancer.”
While lung cancer patients are routinely blamed for their disease, 80% of those being diagnosed are former smokers, many of whom quit decades ago or people who have never smoked. Cigarettes were routinely distributed for free in the military until 1976 and are still readily available at reduced prices.
“Blame is not the issue; lung cancer is the issue,” said Admiral Lopez. “We owe these men and women the benefit of screening and early detection.”
Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA), www.lungcanceralliance.org, is committed to ending injustice and saving lives through an alliance of advocacy, education and support. LCA provides live, real time support, referral and information services for patients, their loved ones and those at risk for lung cancer; conducts national awareness campaigns; and advocates for multiple millions in public health dollars for lung cancer research. Follow Lung Cancer Alliance on Facebook: www.facebook.com/lungcanceralliance and on Twitter @LCAorg.