In November of last year, I wrote about the need to make lung cancer a year-round conversation -- one that goes well beyond lung cancer awareness month. It is going to take many voices to raise awareness and make lung cancer the public health priority it needs to be.
Last month, we launched a new nationwide movement that unites women to stand together against lung cancer and for lung health. LUNG FORCE is driving conversations about the No. 1 cancer killer of women in the United States in media, online and through social channels.
My hope is that these conversations will also drive the much-needed financial support that will improve the currently bleak lung cancer statistics, notably the fact that the five-year survival rate for lung cancer is currently only about 16 percent -- one of the lowest of all cancers.
Through LUNG FORCE, the American Lung Association plans to raise $15 million over the next five years for lung cancer research, public health promotion and advocacy. Of this $15 million, we will invest $10 million in lung cancer research, with the remaining $5 million going to:
- Increasing awareness of early detection tools, such as CT screening;
- Providing patients with information about clinical trials and biomarker testing;
- Advocating for increasing federal funding for lung cancer research from $213 million today to $300 million by 2020; and
- Efforts to raise awareness about the facts on lung cancer and how lung cancer affects women
The LUNG FORCE national presenting sponsor, CVS Caremark, has also stepped up in a big way. Throughout the month of June -- continuing until June 29 -- CVS/pharmacy customers have been able to contribute to LUNG FORCE at the register in stores nationwide or online at www.cvs.com/lung. All proceeds are going to support LUNG FORCE.
Actions like these, coupled with increased understanding and awareness of lung cancer, will continue to propel this fight forward. The power of individual action is invaluable. We need you to get involved in the fight against lung cancer. Be a part of the movement and share how lung cancer personally affects your life. Great LUNG FORCE advocates like Ashley M. wrote about her battle with lung cancer, affectionately calling her tumor Ralph and telling how she worked with her doctors to defeat him.
Visit lungforce.org to find an easy way to support the cause. Whether it's taking the pledge to join the LUNG FORCE movement, helping to educate your friends and family on the risks and facts about lung cancer, sharing your personal battle with lung cancer, joining a local LUNG FORCE Walk, or making a donation to this lifesaving initiative -- it all makes a difference. You can make a big difference.