Advocacy Spotlight

The Real Story About Lung Cancer and Women

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Jane Elterman, a stage IV lung cancer survivor and patient at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Southwestern Regional Medical Center in Tulsa, Okla., became a LUNG FORCE Hero when she shared her story on the American Lung Association’s website at Today, she is a passionate advocate for the movement to increase awareness of lung cancer and to educate. During November, she will be featured in national advertising sponsored by CTCA®.  She says being part of LUNG FORCE allows her to help make people more aware of lung cancer as the number one cancer killer of women. “I truly enjoy helping other cancer patients feel less alone,” she said.

Every five minutes, a woman in the U.S. is told she has lung cancer. Despite being the leading cancer killer of women, lung cancer has been in the shadows for decades. Anyone can get lung cancer, yet awareness of the disease is low. In fact, only one percent of women cite lung cancer as a top-of-mind health risk. This is a big problem to fix, and the American Lung Association is committed to just that.

LUNG FORCE, an initiative launched by the American Lung Association, is seeking to unite women against lung cancer. Already in its second year, LUNG FORCE is driving change.

“Through LUNG FORCE, the American Lung Association has set out to raise awareness about lung cancer to help more people understand their risks, and also advocate for innovations in research that will lead to earlier detection and more personalized treatments so everyone has a fighting chance,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Lung Association. “It’s all about breathing; if you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.”

Today, millions of Americans at high risk for lung cancer have access to lifesaving lung cancer screening. New therapies also are being developed. However, the nation’s investment in research must grow to translate these possible therapies to patients. LUNG FORCE is helping to make this a reality.

Through LUNG FORCE, the American Lung Association will invest $10 million in lung cancer research and $5 million in increasing public health promotion. This includes generating awareness of early detection tools, such as CT screening for those at high risk, providing patients with information about clinical trials and biomarker testing, and advocating for increased federal funding for lung cancer research from $254 million in 2014 to $300 million by 2020.

CTCA is proud to support the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative to help drive home this crucial message.  Patricia Thompson, MD, CTCA Medical Director of Thoracic Oncology and Medical Oncologist at Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Atlanta, Ga., is a new member of the American Lung Association’s Lung Cancer Expert Medical Advisory Panel. Active for the past two years with the American Lung Association of the Southeast charter, Dr. Thompson was asked to join other leading clinicians and academicians on the panel to examine and provide strategic advice on critical lung cancer matters and lung cancer-related issues including prevention, early detection and treatments.

“We need to put lung cancer on the map and give women the knowledge and tools to be catalysts for change,” added Gerard van Grinsven, CTCA President and CEO. “We are proud to support this critically important effort.”

Learn more about the initiative or Share Your Voice with your own lung cancer story at