Lung cancer is responsible for nearly four times the number of deaths when compared to breast cancer, including nearly twice as many women. But breast cancer receives over twice as much funding. It is well known that breast cancer has benefited from decades of awareness education, early detection programs and unparalleled research funding, helping it to become one of the greatest medical success stories of our time. Now we need to do the same for lung cancer, the deadliest category of cancer.
Over the past ten years, with comparatively limited resources, lung cancer has made tremendous strides. But shifting demographics -- many more young, healthy non-smokers are being diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer than ever before -- are making it clear that this is not simply a disease of old people who were heavy smokers. In fact, the new face of lung cancer is much younger and less likely to smoke than ever before. Without a greater public understanding of the disease, it is entirely too common for these new patients to discover they have cancer only after it has metasticized to other organs or to the bones. When it is discovered early, the cancer is usually found by accident when looking for something else; when it is discovered late, treatment options are limited and, while there are treatment options available, the pipeline is clogged for new and better options because the funding simply is not there to complete the necessary trials and bring life-saving treatments to market.
There is every reason to believe that the next decade could show success similar to that achieved with breast cancer treatment -- but only if there is enough funding to support the research and perform the trials. WE NEED TO SHOW CONGRESS THAT THIS KILLER CAN BE STOPPED, AND THEY HOLD THE KEY.