Legislation Introduced to Accelerate Life-Saving Change for Women Impacted by Lung Cancer

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Today, GO2 for Lung Cancer (GO2) applauded the efforts of a bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers to address the public health imperative affecting women impacted by lung cancer – the leading cause of cancer death among women.

The Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act of 2023, introduced in both the House of Representatives by Congressmen Brendan Boyle (D-PA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and in the Senate by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), would increase research focus on lung cancer’s unique impact on women. The legislation would also help improve access to lung cancer screening services and elevate national awareness on the disease. Lung cancer kills more women than any other type of cancer, yet it receives the least amount of federal research funding. Every day, nearly 200 American women die of the disease.

“The time is now to transform survivorship for women impacted by lung cancer,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President & CEO of GO2. “This has been a core priority of ours for years and we are grateful to these elected leaders who are accelerating lifesaving change for our community.”

“Lung cancer develops differently in women and men,” continued Fenton Ambrose. “There are sex differences in many facets of the disease, including risk factors, clinical characteristics, progression, and length of survival. Yet research on these differences is far from conclusive – and woefully lacking. The result has limited opportunities to improve preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic practices. Increasing the investment in women’s health research will reverse this this trend.”

The legislation directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Veterans Affairs, to conduct an interagency review to evaluate the status of, and identify opportunities related to:

  • Increased research on women and lung cancer.
  • Improved access to lung cancer preventive services.
  • A national public awareness and education campaign on lung cancer.

Lung cancer receives $3,580 per death in research funding from the National Institutes of Health. By comparison, breast cancer receives $19,050 per death.

“Lung cancer is sadly one of the only cancers where patients are routinely blamed as responsible for their condition,” said Marsha B. Henderson, GO2 Board Member and Retired Associate Commissioner for Women’s Health at the Food and Drug Administration. “Expanding research and awareness about lung cancer promises that more women will get screened and effective therapies and prevention strategies specific to women will be produced, improving the lives of women with lung cancer.”

Recently, Women’s Health Access Matters (WHAM) commissioned The RAND Corporation to develop a report on lung cancer in women. The report found that doubling current spending on research into lung cancer in women would pay for itself may times over, even if the research led to only modest changes in outcomes. The study found that if just $40 million for lung cancer research focused on women there would be large returns including 22,700 years of life added, 2,500 years restored to the workforce, $45 million added back in labor productivity. Overall, increased research could potentially generate nearly $61 million in returns to the economy and bring a 1,200% return on investment.

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