Why Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer is the deadliest and most common cancer worldwide. It is difficult to detect, and by the time most people are symptomatic, many have already reached stage III or stage IV. Until very recently, the five-year survival rate for patients with advanced-stage lung cancer was in the single digits.
But all that is changing. New targeted drugs—many of which have only been approved by the FDA in the last couple of years—are revolutionizing the way we treat lung cancer and extending the length of time people live with the disease.
With your support, we CAN move lung cancer from the deadly disease it is today to a chronic illness that can be treated and managed.
Removing the Stigma of Lung Cancer
Not all people diagnosed with lung cancer are smokers.
Yes, people who smoke or have smoked have a higher risk, but many lung cancer patients have never smoked at all. Radon. Asbestos. Air pollution. Genetics. These are just some of the other known causes of lung cancer. Lung cancer also occurs in people with no known risk factors.
Lung cancer strikes people in their 20s and 30s who are lifelong nonsmokers. The assumption that it was a direct result of smoking does nothing to help fight the disease. Lung cancer patients are battling for their lives. Removing the stigma associated with lung cancer is critical to ensuring that research receives adequate funding and patients receive critical and compassionate support.
Why get involved: the beginning of a new era in lung cancer treatment
Advanced stage, inoperable lung cancer was once considered a death sentence. Patients with metastatic lung cancer could expect to live, on average, 12 months. But what was once a death sentence is being turned into a “life sentence.” Lung cancer is on its way to becoming more of a chronic disease, like asthma or diabetes. Those diseases can never be cured, but medication can help control them. This is an achievable goal for lung cancer patients.
Scientists have been able to identify genetic alterations at a cellular level that are treatable with targeted drugs and immunotherapy, most of which have been approved by the FDA in just the last few years. Lung cancer patients are now living longer and leading relatively normal lives while on these drugs.
Historically, doctors approached lung cancer patients with a one-size-fits-all treatment with chemotherapy and radiation. Now, they have learned not all lung cancers are the same. Immunotherapy and targeted medications are the future of oncology drugs. Personalized medicine will change the world and lung cancer researchers at UC Health are leading the way.
Lung Cancer Stats
- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death globally, causing 1.7 million deaths a year
- Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined
- In the United States, lung cancer is expected to kill more than 154,000 people in 2018
- Only 6% of federal government dollars spent on cancer research are spent on lung cancer research
- Lung cancer is increasing in young, never-smoking women
- About 5% of people with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), the most common form of lung cancer, have a change in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene
Links for Lungs and Lung Cancer of Colorado Fund
Links for Lungs is dedicated to raising both awareness of lung cancer and money to support the Lung Cancer Colorado Fund and other research organizations.
The Lung Cancer Colorado Fund, overseen by the physicians and scientists of the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) Lung Cancer Program, is committed to fighting lung cancer through the following initiatives:
- Basic, clinical, and translational research
- Training the next generation of physicians and scientists
- Patient financial assistance
- Facility and infrastructure improvements
Proceeds donated to the Lung Cancer Colorado Fund will go directly to basic, clinical and translational research.