Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.
Lung Cancer Alliance is dedicated to saving lives and advancing research by empowering those living with and at risk for lung cancer --the leading cause of cancer death in the US and worldwide. Our work is critical as lung cancer represents 1 in every 3 cancer diagnoses today losing more people each year than breast, prostate, and colon cancers combined. In 2015, more than 220,000 people will be diagnosed and 157,499 will not survive. About 85% of newly diagnosed patients will not live longer than five years making lung cancer one of the most lethal cancers. Over 75% are diagnosed at late stage and are not curable. As a result, lung cancer’s survival rate remains at 17% whereas breast, prostate and colon cancer survival rates are 89%, 99% and 65% respectively. Lung cancer patients are also routinely blamed and thus stigmatized for their disease even though 80% of those diagnosed do not smoke (60% are former smokers, 20% are never smokers). The number of new cases is expected to increase by 52% over the next 20 years. By 2020 the value of lives lost to lung cancer will be $440 billion - three times higher than any other cancer. A 4% annual decrease in mortality rates would cut that cost in half.
Lung Cancer Alliance depends entirely upon the generosity of our donors to advance our mission. We serve the multiple millions of Americans touched by and at risk for the disease with a focus on underserved communities and special populations who are disproportionately impacted. For example, we help Veterans to understand their higher risks for lung cancer and empower them to take action with free on-line risk assessments and where to go to be screened responsibly (www.atriskforlungancer.org). We help women understand that lung cancer is their leading cause of cancer death – nearly 200 women per day – spreading awareness and providing resources to help them and their families make informed decisions. And we are dedicated to fighting for lung cancer screening and treatment programs that saves lives and advances the research that brings us closer to the cures.
Using a science-based, strategic approach, we aim to improve outcomes and reduce deaths by 30%. Reaching this 2020 impact goal requires a collaborative approach that includes: advocating for continued increases in research funding; conducting awareness campaigns on the disease, risk and early detection; providing free psychosocial support, information and referral services; delivering best-practice, high-quality programs to ensure responsible screening and treatment excellence; and pursuing comprehensive public health policies for the disease - from prevention and wellness to early detection and treatment – at the national, state and local levels.
Community Education & Support:
We have professionally-staffed programs to help those living with and at risk for the disease, including the only 1-800 lung cancer helpline in the country providing information, referrals and support, as well as offering peer to peer mentoring programs, a network of support groups and the only lung-cancer specific clinical trials matching service connecting patients with new, viable treatment options.
LCA UNITE is the first of its kind interactive mobile app for lung cancer providing hope, care and support. The app provides live chat features to connect patients and caregivers managing similar diagnoses; a side effect tracker; and a geo-based resource section which provides information on support groups, treatment centers and events in the user’s area.
We work with more than 1,200 healthcare providers so that newly diagnosed patients can get help and support. Our peer-reviewed educational resources are provided free of charge to thousands every month. Nationwide education campaigns about the disease, risk, and screening have reached millions, empowering the public to get the facts and get help. Our multi-award winning “No One Deserves to Die” campaign garnered over 330 million impressions and ignited a national dialogue about our disease for the first time ever. And in 2015, we launched our “How It Feels” support campaign, which captured the experiences of those diagnosed and their loved ones, garnering over 68 million impressions.
Science & Research:
Scientific research is critical to detecting, treating and further understanding lung cancer. We advocate for more research funding from the federal government – the biggest funder of cancer research – with over $100 million secured over the past seven years.
Advocacy & Government Relations:
Our efforts on the national and state levels have secured first-time legislation to prioritize lung cancer research at the National Cancer Institute, established the first federally-funded lung cancer research program, and secured lung cancer representation in state cancer plans.
Partnering with University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and the Kentucky Cancer Consortium, we launched a three-year effort to conduct the first ever state-wide program to reduce the burden of lung cancer. This collaborative will work with multi-disciplinary teams, community partners and prevention and control experts to improve survivorship care, provider education and early detection that may serve as a model for other states to follow.
Screening & Care:
We devised and lead the effort that provides a community-level healthcare solution for lung cancer. Scientifically validated lung cancer screening will have the largest mortality benefit and save more lives per dollar than any other screening method. The National Framework for Lung Screening is an award-winning blueprint to guide best practice care for those at risk for lung cancer in over 350 medical facilities to date.
Lung Cancer Alliance is the leading and highest rated nonprofit organization (Charity Navigator 2015) dedicated to fighting lung cancer in the nation. Since 1995, Lung Cancer Alliance has played a critical role in every major advance – changing how we talk about, detect and treat the disease – and turning patients into survivors. We are both a national and global leader teaming up with numerous organizations to accomplish our mission. We are a founding member of the Global Lung Cancer Coalition with 30 international partners from 17 countries. We have an expanding nationwide network of more than 100,000 volunteers and supporters, 600 hospitals, 1,200 medical professionals, 90 support groups, and over 80 stakeholder organizations representing minority, Veterans and other special populations at higher risk for the disease. We secured more funds for scientific research into lung cancer than any other organization with over 90 projects funded to date totaling over $100 million; first time national prioritization of lung cancer research; and innovative programs, such as Give A Scan (www.giveascan.org) allowing patients to directly contribute their CT scans to advance research. Our work is made possible primarily by donations from individual and foundations, as well as select corporate partners.
Progress toward the 2020 Impact goal of reducing lung cancer deaths by 30% is how we hold ourselves accountable to our mission. Our national board of directors quarterly reviews benchmarks and annually monitors progress that we publish in the National Report Card on Lung Cancer that measures overall death rates, survival rates, research funding levels, smoking cessation rates, diagnosis and treatment breakthroughs, stigma reduction and federal response. We are also incorporating additional measurement tools to more precisely gauge our impact and improve upon psychosocial support services, educational materials, partner technical assistance and outreach to higher risk audiences such as Veterans and minorities. In the short term, we track our progress through scientific research we are able to advocate and secure funding for, the number of public health policies enacted, the number of people we serve, the number of medical facilities in our excellence programs, the number/impact of publications, the number of attendees and presentations at professional meetings, the number of people participating in educational awareness and support programs, media impressions for our awareness campaigns, news releases, website visits and social media reach.
Lung Cancer Alliance initiated and continues leading the movement in the fight against lung cancer. What we accomplished in less than eight years took other disease movement’s decades. We led the historic passage of legislation prioritizing lung cancer research and established the first federally-funded lung cancer research pipeline. We secured representation on several state cancer plans with an additional 20 target states over the coming year to ensure the entire continuum of care is available at the state level. We launched the first-ever “stigma-busting”, award-winning education campaign reaching multiple millions with follow-on lung cancer risk and screening education campaigns to continue the positive national dialogue about our disease. We delivered support to thousands of newly diagnosed families to improve outcomes and mobilize local activists through Shine a Light – the world's largest awareness event for lung cancer – as well as Lung Love Run/Walk and the annual National Lung Cancer Survivor Summit in Washington, D.C. We secured lung cancer screening for those at high risk as the newest preventive service under the Affordable Care Act and covered by private insurance and Medicare/Medicaid.
Despite these milestones, there is much more to be done. Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death. Of those diagnosed, 2 out of 3 will be a former smoker, and 1 out of 4 will be a never smoker with the majority being women.
With additional resources, we can bring about the most profound life-saving change ever for lung cancer -- and cancer overall since we represent 1/3 of all cancers. For example, we can educate the 90 million current and former smokers about risk and screening, as well as how screening can help current smokers to quit. We can advocate for and secure additional funding for research at the state and federal level fighting for the screening and treatment programs that save lives and the research that brings us closer to the cures. We can expand our National Lung Cancer Support Group Network to ensure that newly diagnosed patients and their families know that they are not alone and there is a community that cares for them too. And we will expand our National Screening & Care Centers of Excellence Network to ensure the rapid implementation of responsible screening that saves lives, improves healthcare and propels research in ways we have never seen before.