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Washington, DC [July 14, 2009] -- Today Lung Cancer Alliance praised President Obama’s nomination of Dr. Regina Benjamin as U.S. Surgeon General and urged the family physician from Alabama, whose mother died of lung cancer, to change public awareness and public policy on the disease.
The Surgeon General of the United States serves as the nation’s chief health educator by providing the best scientific information on diseases and how to improve health.
IIn a letter to Dr. Benjamin, LCA President Laurie Fenton-Ambrose said, “To have a family physician in this important position, and one who has devoted her life to making a difference for the under-served sends a message of hope that we can and will do better.”
That message is particularly needed for those hundreds of thousands of families touched by lung cancer.
“Your family has suffered - so many families have suffered - from the devastation of this disease,” she said.
Only heart disease causes more deaths each year, yet the public is not aware of the statistics or of the underfunding of research into the disease.
Citing the President’s frequently expressed empathy for those who started smoking at a young age, Fenton-Ambrose said: “We are hopeful that the President's understanding and sympathetic approach and your own tragic experience with lung cancer will signal an end to the decades of stigma, blame and neglect that has allowed lung cancer to become the most lethal yet least funded of the four top cancer killers.
“Progress cannot be made until the public understands the impact of lung cancer and we commit to addressing lung cancer as a disease comprehensively. This is an epidemic that requires more research funding and a coordinated plan of attack, encompassing all areas: prevention, early detection, intervention and treatment.
“We wish you success and a speedy confirmation, and we commit to working with you so that under your leadership we can and will make progress in reducing lung cancer's lethality,” she concluded.
Lung Cancer Alliance 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.
To read LCA's letter to Dr. Regina Benjamin, click here.