The Lung Cancer Alliance hailed the US Senate's action declaring lung cancer a national public health priority and calling for an interagency coordinated attack on the number one cancer killer. Laurie Fenton, president of the Lung Cancer Alliance, praised Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) for their leadership in reaching across party lines to give the resolution their full support and expedite its passage by the Senate.
Five weeks ago, Hagel and Clinton jointly introduced the resolution, SRes 408, which calls lung cancer a public health priority and includes a blueprint for several federal agencies—including the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, and the Food and Drug Administration—to work together in reducing lung cancer's high mortality numbers.
"A resolution, even one passed unanimously, does not legally force the agencies to act," Fenton noted. "However, the political message coming from the Senate is loud and clear, and the rarely seen speed with which it was passed—just 5 weeks after introduction—boosts the volume even louder."
The resolution calls on the President to declare lung cancer a public health priority and to increase funding for research, screening, and graduate medical education programs in thoracic care and surgery. Expedited approval procedures for lung cancer drugs, new screening and treatment programs for veterans and military personnel, and a pilot screening program under Medicare are also included in this declaration.
A similar resolution introduced by Congressman Clay Shaw (R-FL), HRes 739, is currently pending in the House of Representatives.