Apr 22 2010

Senator Feinstein Praises Comprehensive Report on Lung Cancer in Women

-Urges Senate, House colleagues to pass Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act-

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein today urged her Senate and House colleagues to pass the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act in light of a new report that examines the effect of lung cancer on women. The report shows that a variety of genetic, hormonal and social factors may put women at a great risk for the deadly disease.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Senators Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), requires the federal government to make fighting lung cancer a priority by better coordinating federal research initiatives and speeding development of preventive drugs and treatments for lung cancer.

A report released today by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and the Lung Cancer Alliance, provides a comprehensive look at the enormous impact of lung cancer on women.

Titled “Out of the Shadows”; Women and Lung Cancer: the report summarizes existing research on sex and gender differences in lung cancer, highlights gaps in current knowledge, and recommends steps to reduce the burden of this disease in women and men.

“The report does exactly what its title suggests – it brings the issue of lung cancer ‘out of the shadows’ for women and helps to increase women’s and the general public’s knowledge of the impact and complexities surrounding this disease.” Senator Feinstein said. “It further underscores the need to pass the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act, which would boost funding and expand research into possible preventive treatments of this deadly disease. It’s time for the federal government to make fighting lung cancer a national priority.”

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women and men in the United States, taking more women’s lives each year than breast and all gynecological cancers combined.  In 2010 alone, approximately 70,500 women will die from the disease. 

Despite lung cancer’s strong association with tobacco use, one in five women who develop the disease has never smoked.   Moreover, mounting research suggests that the pattern and course of lung cancer differs between women and men, and that genetic, hormonal, behavioral and environmental factors are involved. 

The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act, (S.332) is the first bicameral, bipartisan legislation that calls upon the Departments of Defense, Veterans Administration and Health and Human Services to devise a coordinated and comprehensive plan to address all aspects of lung cancer.  It has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and currently has 16 cosponsors.

“I believe that we have the expertise and technology to make serious progress against this deadly cancer, and to reach the goal of halving lung cancer mortality by 2015,” Senator Feinstein said. “This legislation will ensure that our government’s resources are focused on this mission in the most efficient way possible.”

The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act

  • Affirms the goal of a 50 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths by 2015. 
  • Authorizes a Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Program, with interagency coordination, to develop and implement a plan to meet this goal. 
  • Authorizes $75 million for lung cancer research programs in the National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLB), National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Creates a new incentive program in the Food and Drug Administration, modeled after the Orphan Drug Act to develop chemoprevention drugs for lung cancer and pre-cancerous lung disease.  These are drugs that could prevent pre-cancers from progressing into full blown disease. 
  • Better coordinates tobacco cessation programs and disparity programs to ensure that the burdens of lung cancer on minority populations are addressed.

For more information and to view the report, go to www.lungcanceralliance.org.

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