Today marks the 10-year anniversary of my mother’s death from lung cancer and the 10-year anniversary of my becoming a patient advocate. I got involved with lung cancer patient advocacy to help ensure that other people and families did not suffer the same fate as my mother and our family did.
During the past decade we have witnessed unprecedented advancements in the science of understanding, diagnosing, and treating lung cancer. We have also seen the rise of impactful patient advocacy groups, a transformation in how patients are interacting with regulators, industry partners, and the health care system more broadly. Importantly, we have seen the birth of patient-centricity in drug development and clinical trials. Patients are demanding to be heard. At LUNGevity we strive to put the patient front and center in all we do and work to ensure that we help represent and magnify their voices.
Like other movements we are witnessing in our country at the moment, there is a groundswell of grassroots activity from people diagnosed with lung cancer - organizing into groups to drive research and our government agencies to focus on issues that are important to them.
Patient groups like the ALK Positives, ROS1ders and the EGFR Resistors are raising funds to drive research that is relevant to their particular disease, and events like the upcoming Life and Breath Rally show the power of the people to demand change from our federal agencies. It is unacceptable that lung cancer, which accounts for close to 30% of cancer deaths in America, receives only 6% of federal dollars spent on cancer research. The science is ready - we need the dollars to drive the research to the 225,000 Americans diagnosed with lung cancer each year and SAVE LIVES. We cannot afford to be patient patients.
I am proud of all of the work that LUNGevity is doing to improve outcomes for people diagnosed with lung cancer and I applaud all of the people who are demanding change.
Together we can create a world where no one dies of lung cancer.
To learn more about how you can get involved visit www.LUNGevity.org
Andrea Ferris is the CEO of LUNGevity and a member of the Board of Directors. In her role as CEO of LUNGevity, Andrea is responsible for setting and executing the strategic direction of the organization and its science programs.