By Anita McGlothlin, Associate Director of Science and Regulatory Policy, Lung Cancer Alliance
Greetings! I am Anita McGlothlin, the Associate Director of Science and Regulatory Policy at Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA). I can’t wait to meet you in person at a future LCA event. In the interim, I’m excited to introduce and share a little bit about myself, my role at the LCA and what lung cancer advocacy means to me. Let’s start with some personal details – I am a child of the 70’s who was born in South Korea, adopted into a big Irish family and raised in Northern Virginia. I am now a Marylander (Go Terrapins) who is the proud mother of two sons and a French Bulldog.
Before my position at LCA, I was the Senior Health Economics and Policy Analyst at the American College of Radiology and led the low dose CT lung cancer screening coverage efforts for radiology. My 20 years of regulatory and policy work and special interest in reducing patient access barriers and increasing the lung cancer screening rate were recognized and I was later appointed as the Vice Chair of the National Lung Cancer Roundtable (NLCRT) Policy Action Task Group.
Stepping into my new role with LCA has been inspiring and meaningful. I am honored to be part of a powerhouse of a team and organization. One of my top priorities is to increase the lung cancer screening rate and raise awareness about screening as an essential health benefit. I am hopeful that one day soon the public will know that when they go for their annual wellness visit, they should not only ask about cancer screenings for their breasts, colon, and prostate but also their lungs. Low dose CT lung cancer screening is recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, Medicare, and other national cancer organizations.
The extremely low number of individuals obtaining lung cancer screening is truly alarming. In 2016 fewer than 2% of the eligible population (7 million) in the U.S. received lung cancer screening, according to an abstract presented at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. Lung cancer screening is available in more than 1,800 screening facilities including over 550 LCA Screening Centers of Excellence nationwide.
Given the magnitude of lung cancer in the U.S., it is important to get screened if you are at higher risk. Medicare and most insurance plans cover individuals eligible for screening. Ask your physician about low dose CT lung cancer screening, utilize LCA patient resources and help increase the screening rate by getting the word out to family and friends.
Like so many families, I have lost loved ones to lung cancer—my brother Tim and very recently my Aunt Julia. Lung cancer advocacy is a personal mission. I am dedicated to increasing understanding about the value of early detection for lung cancer, ensuring access to high-quality, affordable lung cancer screening and educating the public about this disease to proactively combat stigma.
I remind all of us that we are stronger together and stand united to save lives.