PRAISES SENATORS DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA), JOHN KERRY (D-MA), JOHNNY ISAKSON (R-GA) AND HOUSE MEMBERS DONNA CHRISTENSEN (D-VI) AND FRANK LOBIONDO (R-NJ) FOR THEIR CONTINUED LEADERSHIP
WASHINGTON, April 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) praised congressional leadership for again stepping forth and reintroducing federal legislation to provide for a compassionate and comprehensive plan of action for lung cancer – the leading cause of cancer death.
The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act, introduced simultaneously yesterday afternoon in both the United States Senate (S.752) and House of Representatives (H.R.1394), represents continued bi-partisan and bi-cameral support for a multi-pronged federal plan that would address all aspects of lung cancer, including now a national lung cancer screening demonstration program.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D- CA), who has been the leading Democratic voice in the Senate on lung cancer since 2007, said, "This terrible disease accounts for 28 percent of all cancer deaths, yet the majority of patients are not correctly diagnosed until a late stage of the illness."
"With the federal budget under strain, our legislation ensures a coordinated federal effort to tackle lung cancer and achieve early detection and treatment. All agencies with an expertise on lungs, imaging and cancer will be included in this fight," she said.
Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who supported lung cancer legislation in the past Congress, now join Senator Feinstein as primary sponsors of the new bill.
Senator Kerry said: "All of our lives have been touched by cancer, and anyone who has seen a loved one suffer with lung cancer knows what a tough, tough cancer it is and how desperately we need to marshal a comprehensive approach to beat it. We need to do whatever it takes to lower mortality rates and this legislation would move us in the right direction."
"Lung cancer is one of the deadliest cancers and affects individuals and families across the country from all walks of life," noted Senator Isakson, adding, "I am pleased to work with my colleagues in Congress to reduce the prevalence and mortality of this terrible disease."
In the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Donna Christensen (D-VI) and Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) resumed their roles as primary sponsors of the bill.
"We remain united in our efforts to see a more coordinated and comprehensive approach to addressing this disease that has hurt so many people," said Congressman LoBiondo.
Congresswoman Christensen, the first woman physician in either house of Congress, called the bill "a necessity."
"The public is not even aware that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women and men and in every ethnic group," she said.
"Stigma and blame have blinded people to the facts," she said, noting that three out of four new cases of lung cancer are being diagnosed in people who had already quit smoking, often decades ago, or never smoked at all, and that among non-smokers diagnosed with lung cancer, women outnumber men three to two.
Over 220,000 people a year are being diagnosed with lung cancer. The majority will die within a year, and according to the finalized mortality statistics for 2007, lung cancer deaths exceeded the combined total of all deaths from breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers.
The legislation requires the Departments of Health and Human Services, Defense and Veterans Affairs to devise and coordinate a comprehensive public health strategy that combines prevention and cessation with early detection and treatment research.
The legislation also calls for a screening demonstration program to begin the process of translating the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) recent scientific validation that low-dose CT screening of an at risk population can significantly reduce lung cancer mortality into public health benefit. The bills have been referred to the committees with jurisdiction over health policy in the House and Senate.
"We are so grateful to have the continued commitment and leadership of these Senators and House leaders of both parties who have consistently advocated for greater compassion and support for the entire lung cancer community," said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, LCA President & CEO.
"Lung cancer is not a partisan issue," she pointed out.
Last Congress, 22 Senators and 61 House Members endorsed the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act. In addition, the legislation received wide acclaim by dozens of leading medical institutions and associations, women's and men's health groups, minority and social justice organizations, and military and veterans associations.
For more information on the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act, go to www.lungcanceralliance.org. Lung Cancer Alliance is the only national organization dedicated solely to support and advocacy for all those either living with or at risk for lung cancer. Lung Cancer Alliance is committed to reversing decades of stigma and neglect by empowering patients, elevating awareness and changing health policy.
Follow Lung Cancer Alliance on Facebook, www.facebook.com/lungcanceralliance.
SOURCE Lung Cancer Alliance