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Lung Cancer Alliance Calls American Cancer Society's Claim of Progress Selective

WASHINGTON, May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) said that the American Cancer Society's claim of "progress in cancer fight" earlier this week was based on "selective culling of statistics and ignores the dismal truth that we have made very little progress on the most lethal cancers, including lung cancer, which causes one in every two cancer deaths, or in metastatic cancer of any kind."


LCA President & CEO Laurie Fenton Ambrose agreed that progress has been made with certain cancers such as breast, prostate and colon which have widely accepted screening tests for early detection and ACS deserves credit for promulgating information to the public on the importance of these tests.

"But this is not time to be celebrating when half of all cancers still have survival rates of less than 50% and when we are facing a 45% increase in the overall number of new cancer cases by the year 2030," she said, citing a recent report on the upcoming tidal wave in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"There could be no stronger wake-up call," she said. "We can't continue to tout selected changes in incidence and mortality rates over a limited number of cancers over a limited period of time. We have to step back and look at the big picture and try to figure out why we have not done better and where we have to go from here."

In 1975 when the so-called War on Cancer was launched, the incidence rate (the number of men and women with cancer for each 100,000 of population) was 400.4. In 2006, the rate was 456.2. The death rate in 1975 was 199.1. In 2006 it was 187.0. The explanation for why the death rate has fallen depends on the type of cancer, levels of respective research funding, behavior modifications, and the deployment and awareness of early detection methods.

For example, breast cancer's five-year survival rate has increased from 75% in 1975 to 89% in 2005, prostate cancer from 67% to 99% and colon cancer from 50% to 65% respectively.

In contrast, lung cancer's five year survival rate is still only 15.6%.

"The toll of lung cancer is now so high that it is taking more lives each year than the next four biggest cancers - colon, breast, pancreas and prostate - combined, and has surpassed every other disease except heart disease as a cause of death," she said.

"There is nothing to celebrate in these figures," she said. "Clearly we have to re-think the war on cancer, especially those most lethal, such as lung cancer."

Lung Cancer Alliance ( is the only national non-profit organization solely dedicated to patient support and advocacy for the lung cancer community. LCA's mission is to lead the movement to reverse decades of stigma and neglect by empowering those with or at risk for the disease, elevating awareness and changing health policy.

    Kay Cofrancesco

SOURCE Lung Cancer Alliance
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