There is a blight upon our country. It's called lung cancer.
Lung cancer will kill 160,000 of us in 2012 -- three times more than any other cancer. Among those hardest hit will be the men and women of our armed forces, past and present.
And when it comes to gender equality, lung cancer is an unfortunate area of catch-up, with diagnoses among women up six-fold since 1930.
We wish we could be hopeful, but the five-year survival rate for lung cancer remains at 16%, where it was decades ago.
Successive sessions of Congress have let this sorry story unfold. It's time for action. It's time to pass the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act -- smart, long overdue legislation that our elected officials in Washington have inexplicably dragged their feet on.
This Congress has a unique opportunity to prove to the public that it can rise above partisan politics and work together on issues that matter to the American people. We urge you to act.
Dear Elected Official,
As your constituent, I urge you to support the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women and men and among every ethnic and racial group in the U.S. There will be an estimated 160,000 lung cancer deaths in 2012, more than the total for breast, colon, ovarian, melanoma, brain and leukemia combined and the overall five-year survival rate for lung cancer remains at 16%, where it has been for decades.
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When it comes to gender equality, lung cancer is an unfortunate area of catch-up, with lung cancer diagnoses among women up six-fold since 1930. Often dismissed as a "smoker's disease," the truth is that one in five women with lung cancer never smoked. That's more than twice the rate seen among men with the disease. No one knows why and sadly, few people are asking the question.
A large part of the problem is that the disease has not received public attention or research dollars proportionate to its prevalence or virulence. Unfortunately, private fundraising for lung cancer research badly lags the efforts in support of other cancers -- and the story repeats itself in terms of federal dollars. Federal funding for other common cancers still dwarfs that for lung cancer, a disease that accounts for more than 1 in 4 cancer deaths and takes the lives of 80% more women than breast cancer each year.
It's time for action and leadership. While successive congressional sessions and presidential administrations, Republican and Democratic alike, have stood by and let this sorry story unfold, there is something this Congress can do about it: pass the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act.
The Act -- which has lingered in both houses of Congress for more than three years -- seeks to cut in half the number of annual lung cancer deaths by 2020. It is smart, bipartisan, long overdue legislation that our elected officials in Washington have inexplicably dragged their feet on.
This Congress has a unique opportunity to prove to the public -- and to our service men and women who are particularly hard hit by this disease -- that it can rise above partisan politics and work together on issues that matter to the American people. Over the next 5 years, more than 1,000,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer but you can help save many of them.
I urge you to support this critical piece of legislation.