GO2 for Lung Cancer Holds Lung Cancer Voices Summit on Capitol Hill to Advocate for Increased Research Funding for the Leading Cause of Cancer Death

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On Tuesday, March 5 GO2 for Lung Cancer (GO2) will host more than 200 supporters on Capitol Hill to educate members of Congress on the urgent needs of the lung cancer community. GO2’s Lung Cancer Voices Summit participants hope to persuade representatives to pass legislation to secure $60 million in federal funding for the Lung Cancer Research Program in the FY2025 budget. The group is also imploring representatives to cosponsor and demand a floor vote on H.R. 4534/S. 2245, the Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventative Services Act, proposed in 2023. The advocates visiting the Hill are people with lung cancer, caregivers, medical professionals, healthcare experts, and others impacted by the disease.

GO2 President and CEO Laurie Ambrose said, “People’s lives are at stake, we have to have funding and support now.” Ambrose has dedicated considerable time to educating the public, congressional leaders, physicians, researchers, and other stakeholders on the somber facts of lung cancer. “Lung cancer is the single largest cancer killer. It claims more lives than breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers combined.”

Ambrose continued, “Lung cancer is also the leading cause of cancer death among women. It is estimated that 162 women die of the disease daily – one woman every 8.9 minutes. Yet, this hidden women’s cancer is the least funded cancer of all the major cancers in terms of research dollars per death. And not only is it the leading cause of cancer deaths, but women without any known lung cancer risk factors are twice as likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer than men.”

The Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Veteran Affairs, to conduct an interagency review to evaluate research on women and lung cancer, improve access to lung cancer preventive services for women, and conduct public awareness campaigns on lung cancer.

Ambrose recently submitted testimony to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health in support of the Act. The committee included the legislation in a special hearing on February 14 that highlighted bills that support patients and caregivers.

In her testimony, Ambrose stated, “GO2 has witnessed lung cancer’s unique and devastating impact on women. We placed an early spotlight on the need for increased research into women and lung cancer. Beginning in 2010, we partnered with The Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital after they released the study, ‘Out of the Shadows.’ This study highlights the gaps in current knowledge about lung cancer’s lethality, summarizes existing research on sex and gender differences in lung cancer, identifies shortcomings in current research funding that would provide a better understanding of these biological differences, and recommends steps to reduce the burden of this disease in women and men.”

Ambrose also explained that Brigham and Women’s Hospital released an updated report in 2016.“Lung Cancer: A Women’s Health Imperative,” brought even greater awareness of the need for a national strategy to address the study of sex and gender specific aspects of the disease.

“It is our hope through H.R. 4534, the Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventative Services Act of 2023, we will gain a better understanding of the roles that genetic, hormonal, behavioral, and environmental factors play in this lethal disease, uncover the differences in incidence, prevalence, and survivability to identify treatment responses between men and women,” Ambrose stated. “We want to change the trajectory of this disease for all, and the legislation does that.”

Ambrose added, “This is a big hurdle. We have been striving to accelerate this movement and bring focus to the fact that lung cancer is an exceptionally deadly and devastating disease. Despite our efforts to educate, the public remains largely unaware of the danger, and lung cancer remains one of the least-funded and under-researched cancers.”

“Time is of the essence,” said Ambrose. “If we act quickly, we can save many, many lives.”

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