WASHINGTON, March 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE Heroes - those personally impacted by lung cancer - came together from all fifty states at the U.S. Capitol to press their Senators and Representatives for continued momentum toward ending lung cancer during the first ever LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day. Following recent advances in combating lung cancer, these lung cancer advocates are pushing for robust, sustained federal research funding increases that will result in additional early detection methods and better treatments.
LUNG FORCE is uniting the nation in the fight against lung cancer, the #1 cancer killer of women and men. One reason lung cancer is so deadly is that most cases are not diagnosed until later stages when treatment options are limited, underscoring the need for more research funding to improve early detection methods and treatments, save lives and ultimately defeat this deadly disease.
"We have made real progress towards defeating lung cancer," said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "New drugs related to lung cancer and recent increases in federal funding give us hope, but we are just getting started."
Congress passed a budget bill in December that included a boost for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and critical funding for cancer research, and the NIH estimates that it will invest $362 million in lung cancer research in 2016.
"The Lung Association is calling for an even greater federal investment in cancer research, and has made increasing federal research funding for lung cancer a top priority with a goal of at least $450 million by 2020," Wimmer continued. "Redoubling our efforts to ensure that future austerity budget limits do not undo this progress, we are seeking an overall increase to at least $34.5 billion for the 2017 NIH budget."
To keep the momentum going, LUNG FORCE Heroes from each state will share how lung cancer has affected their lives, asking for a robust, sustained investment in research funding. Lysa Buonanno from Nevada was in complete shock when she was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer at the age of 40. Now an advocate for increased research funding, Buonanno urges everyone to share their voices with their Members of Congress.
"It's so encouraging to see the progress being made in lung cancer clinical trials," said Buonanno, who has responded well to new targeted drug therapy. "Knowing there are ten-year survivors out there gives me hope. We're making more progress than ever before, but so much still needs to be done to increase survival rates and to detect lung cancer earlier. I'm grateful to be here today, sharing my voice for all the survivors that no longer can."
Leading up to LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day, Lung Association leaders, Heroes and supporters addressed the cause with Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) last night. The evening included an inspirational performance by Grammy Award-winning singer Patti LaBelle, who lost two of her sisters to lung cancer in their early 40s. She announced a partnership with LUNG FORCE in November during Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
LUNG FORCE encourages everyone to advocate for lung cancer research with your members of Congress in Washington, D.C. Visit LUNGFORCE.org to learn more about LUNG FORCE and how you can #ShareYourVoice and contact your member of Congress. Media interested in speaking with an expert about lung cancer and research funding, should contact the American Lung Association at Media@Lung.org or 312-801-7628.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit the newly redesigned website: Lung.org.
About LUNG FORCE
LUNG FORCE is a new national movement led by the American Lung Association to unite women against lung cancer, the #1 cancer killer of women. LUNG FORCE has three priorities: 1) Make lung cancer a cause that people care about – and act on; 2) Educate and empower patients and healthcare providers and 3) Raise critical funds for lung cancer research. The American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE is nationally presented by CVS Health. Find out more at LUNGFORCE.org.
American Lung Association
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SOURCE American Lung Association