Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lung Cancer Alliance-Georgia Issues Third Annual State-Specific Report Card on Lung Cancer

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Lung Cancer Alliance-Georgia (LCA-GA) issued its 3rd Annual Report Card on Lung Cancer. This Report is an assessment of progress being made against this lethal disease in the state of Georgia. LCA-GA is a chapter of Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA), the only national organization dedicated exclusively to patient support and advocacy for people living with or at risk for lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths nationally, as well as among Georgian men and women, resulting in 30 percent of all cancer deaths in the state. This year alone, 5,980 Georgians will be diagnosed and 4,570 will die from the disease --- more than the combined total of breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

"Despite these alarming statistics, the Georgia legislature and Georgia Cancer Coalition have virtually ignored lung cancer and its impact on citizens throughout the state," said Ed Levitt, LCA-GA Chair. "State funding for lung cancer prevention, early detection, better treatments and research must increase if we are going to see a reduction in mortality rates in Georgia."

"For the third straight year, LCA-GA has laid out their commitments to reversing the decades of stigma and neglect associated with lung cancer," said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, LCA President and CEO. "They have an incredible team in place willing to work with other organizations who share their common goals laid out in their 2008 Report Card on Lung Cancer."

The LCA-GA 2008 Report Card on Lung Cancer uses seven categories to annually grade progress in key benchmarks areas, in order to alert Georgian public health and public policy leaders and state residents to what needs to be done to address lung cancer appropriately.

Over the past four decades, significant funding for research and early detection has greatly increased five year survival rates for breast cancer (88 percent), prostate cancer (99 percent) and colon cancer (65 percent).

Underfunded and ignored, lung cancer five year survival rate is still only 15 percent.

The LCA-GA 2008 Report Card on Lung Cancer grades the following seven categories:

-- Number of Deaths -- GRADE: F Lung cancer is the number one cause of
cancer death among Georgian men and women.
-- Five-Year Survival Rate -- GRADE: F Lung cancer is the only major
cancer with virtually no improvement in survival for nearly 40 years,
and a five year survival rate that has hovered at 15 percent.
-- State-Supported Research -- GRADE: F Lung cancer is under-funded and
under-researched relative to its Georgia public health impact.
-- Newly-Addicted Youth Smokers -- GRADE: F 13,100 new Georgian "daily"
smokers under age 18 become addicted each year. Georgia is one of only
5 states not covering prescription medications to quit smoking under
Medicaid losing federal matching funds and is 48th out of 50 states in
tobacco prevention spending, spending only $2.3 million in the 2009
budget, less than 1% of tobacco-related revenues.
-- State-Supported Early Detection Program -- GRADE: F Georgia continues
to ignore the mounting data showing that CT screening in a high risk
population will save lives.
-- State Cancer Plan Commitment -- GRADE: D The 2008 State Cancer Plan is
underwhelming in its commitment to patients, survivors, and caregivers
who are looking for leadership to reverse decades of stigma and
neglect too long attached to lung cancer.
-- Disparity Issue -- GRADE: F The lung cancer incidence and mortality
for African-American males in Georgia is significantly higher than any
other ethnic group, yet this difference is not being addressed or

"The problem is clear," concluded Levitt. "It is time to make a change. Lung cancer has been declared a national public health priority by the U.S. Congress. LCA-GA would like to make sure that Georgia and its outstanding hospitals and research centers play a major role in this effort for the benefit of Georgians as well as the nation."

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