Press Releases

Senators Feinstein and Brownback Introduce Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act

-Goal is to cut lung cancer deaths in half by 2015-

Washington, D.C. –Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) today introduced legislation requiring the government to make fighting lung cancer a priority by better coordinating federal research initiatives and speeding up the development of prevention drugs and treatments for lung cancer.

When the National Cancer Act was passed in 1971, lung cancer had a 5-year survival rate of only 12 percent. After decades of research efforts and scientific advances, the survival rate remains at only 15 percent. In contrast, the 5-year survival rates of breast, prostate, and colon cancer have risen to 89 percent, 99 percent and 65 percent respectively. 

“Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, but funding of research and innovative new drug therapies have lagged behind that of other cancers,” said Senator Feinstein, who co-chairs the Senate Cancer Coalition along with Senator Brownback. “This needed legislation 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.”

“More research and funding are certainly needed to stop the unnecessary suffering and death caused by lung cancer,” said Senator Brownback. “Senator Feinstein and I are committed to making cancer prevention and treatment a priority; the legislation we introduced today will save lives.”

The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2009 also would improve current tobacco cessation programs and disparity programs within the Department of Health and Human Services and create a lung cancer early detection research program for veterans who may be at higher risk for lung cancer.

“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. Every part of the National Institutes of Health that may have some ideas to lend should be participating.”

Bill Summary

The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2009 will renew and improve the federal government’s efforts to combat lung cancer.  It will:

  • Affirm the goal of a 50 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths by 2015.  
  • Authorize 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 Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Create a new incentive program in the Food and Drug Administration modeled after the Orphan Drug Act to develop chemoprevention drugs for lung cancer and precancerous lung disease.  These are drugs that could prevent pre-cancer from progressing into full blown disease. 
  • Better coordinate tobacco cessation programs and disparity programs to ensure that the burdens of lung cancer on minority populations are addressed.