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Washington, DC [April 24, 2012]--Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) today welcomed the addition of the American Lung Association to its advocacy efforts on behalf of screening for those at high risk for lung cancer and accelerated research into the causes of all types of lung cancer.
"We are encouraged to see that more organizations are recognizing the lifesaving potential of screening and the impetus this will give to lung cancer research overall," said LCA's President and CEO Laurie Fenton-Ambrose, who said that LCA has been asking the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society for years to take a more comprehensive approach to lung cancer than tobacco control alone.
"Lung cancer has been the leading cause of cancer deaths for decades, and we are not going to change that statistic by denying the now proven benefit of screening to those we know are at high risk or by ignoring the increasing number of people who never smoked who are being diagnosed with the disease," she said.
In November, 2010, the National Cancer Institute terminated its eight year randomized controlled trial when the results clearly indicated that giving smokers and former smokers CT scans could save more lives than other cancer screening protocols.
Shortly after the detailed results were published by NCI last summer, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network gave CT screening its endorsement, which LCA applauded as a major breakthrough.
WellPoint a major national health insurer, announced coverage of CT screening and Lung Cancer Alliance developed and launched first of a kind National Framework of Lung Cancer Screening Excellence and its Continuum of Care, first of a kind guidance for both consumers at risk as well as sites offering care. It lays out a bill of rights for the at-risk public and guiding principles for lung cancer screening sites.
"This is not just about screening," said Fenton-Ambrose. "This is about the whole continuum of care involved in lung cancer diagnosis and treatment and how we can constantly improve the process as new methods for assessing risk and treating lung cancer are validated.
Last week, an actuarial analysis published in Health Affairs indicated that CT screening for lung cancer could be covered by commercial insurance at lower premium rates and at lower cost than screening for other cancers.
"Hopefully with the overwhelming evidence of the life-saving and cost-saving potential of early detection, more professional and health policy organizations will begin to publicly support this major change in how we approach the disease of lung cancer."
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.