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Lung Cancer Alliance Commends Leadership of MA State Senate
Date:3/13/2008

First-ever State Funded Lung Cancer Research Bill Given Hearing in Joint Committee on Revenue

WASHINGTON, March 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Lung Cancer Alliance praised the efforts of State Senator Susan Fargo for helping shepherd first-ever lung cancer research funding bill through the Massachusetts State Senate Committee on Revenue. Senate Bill #2454 would establish a "trust fund," known as the Commonwealth Lung Cancer Early Detection and Treatment Research Fund, which would be funded by a percentage of the cigarette tax and would support research grants for early detection and treatment.

"Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women nationally and in Massachusetts," said Senator Fargo. "This year alone 3,360 Massachusetts residents will succumb to this disease. This is unacceptable, and it is time that we addressed this public health epidemic with the compassion and support it rightly deserves. I am confident that Massachusetts can and will lead the way."

Dozens filled the committee room to testify or submitted letters in support of the legislation. "No one deserves lung cancer," said Diane Legg, a survivor and State Co-Chairwoman of Lung Cancer Alliance - Massachusetts (LCA-MA). "This is one of the most exciting days for me since my lung cancer diagnosis. Fortunately my lung cancer was caught early -- which is why helping others at risk detect and treat their lung cancer earlier is absolutely critical. Thank you, Senator Fargo for your leadership on this issue."

Lung cancer claims more lives each year than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney and melanoma cancers combined. Over 70% of those diagnosed with lung cancer are diagnosed at late stage which accounts for its low five-year survival rate of 15%. In addition, 60% of those now diagnosed quit smoking decades ago or never smoked at all.

"It makes no difference whether you smoked or not," said Joanne O'Connor, who lost her sister to lung cancer and is LCA-MA State Co-Chairwoman. "What matters is that lung cancer is a disease and no longer should be ignored or stigmatized. Too many are dying needlessly because of the lack of more robust early detection and treatment programs."

The Joint Committee on Revenue will have until March 19th to act on the bill. The bill will proceed to the Ways and Means Committee if ruled upon favorably. LCA-MA will continue to collaborate with all other public health leaders, including the American Lung Association of New England, to advance this ground breaking legislation.

Lung Cancer Alliance (http://www.LungCancerAlliance.org) is the only national non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to patient support and advocacy for those living with or at risk for lung cancer. Lung Cancer Alliance is committed to leading 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.


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SOURCE Lung Cancer Alliance
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