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Washington, U.S.A. — Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) has announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has agreed to move forward on CT screening for veterans at high risk for lung cancer. This was communicated to Laurie Fenton Ambrose, LCA President & CEO in written correspondence by VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert A. Petzel.
“I am so pleased that high level engagement with senior VA officials has borne fruit,” said Fenton Ambrose, “as bringing this life saving benefit to our veterans has been one of our highest priorities.”
In 2010, the National Cancer Institute terminated one of the largest trials in its history after proving that screening those at high risk for lung cancer with CT scans could dramatically reduce lung cancer deaths.
“No one deserves to die from lung cancer – and certainly not the men and women who have served their country,” said Admiral T. Joseph Lopez (USN-retired), Chairman of the LCA Board of Directors, who personally advocated for the screening benefit.
Lopez continued, “Now that the wheels are in motion at the VA I know that they will understand the urgency and move quickly as lives are literally at stake.”
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. Military men and women are at higher risk for lung cancer than civilians due to higher smoking rates and exposure to lung cancer causing chemicals.
“As former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, I am grateful to the Lung Cancer Alliance for raising the importance of CT screening for those veterans at risk of lung cancer and to Secretary Shinseki and Under Secretary Dr. Pretzel for this life saving step for the men and women who served our nation in uniform,” said The Honorable Anthony J. Principi, who served as Secretary from 2001 – 2005.
LCA launched in February a National Framework for Lung Screening Excellence and Continuum of Care to ensure that lung cancer screening is implemented responsibly, safely and cost effectively. To date over 150 medical centers across the country have committed to LCA’s National Framework and are screening responsibly and at low cost. The VA has indicated it will also follow established best practices to ensure risk is minimized and the benefit maximized.
In addition, LCA has long been working with a coalition of veterans service organizations, led by Vietnam Veterans of America, to make lung cancer a higher Veterans health care priority and to adapt lung cancer screening for those veterans at risk for the disease.
Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA), http://www.lungcanceralliance.org/, is committed to ending injustice and saving lives through an alliance of advocacy, education, and support. LCA provides live, real time support, referral and information services for patients, their loved ones and those at risk for lung cancer; conducts national awareness campaigns; and advocates for multiple millions in public health dollars for lung cancer research.