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Editorial Lung Cancer
Decreasing Lung Cancer Mortality through
Screening—The Lung Cancer Alliance Experience
Laurie Fenton Ambrose, Amy Copeland, and Jennifer C King
Lung Cancer Alliance, Washington, DC, US
O ver the past several years, detection of lung cancer has changed dramatically due to critical scientific advances, adapting guidelines,
and key policy and coverage decisions. Lung Cancer Alliance provides an example of how patient advocacy organizations working
alongside of scientists, clinicians, and policy-makers have been influential in shaping science and policy for the benefit of patients.
Keywords Lung cancer, screening, imaging, patient advocacy
Disclosure: Laurie Fenton Ambrose, Jennifer C King,
and Amy Copeland are affiliated with Lung Cancer
Alliance. This article is a short opinion piece and has
not been submitted to external peer reviewers. No
funding was received in the publication of this article.
Authorship: All named authors meet the International
Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) criteria
for authorship of this manuscript, take responsibility
for the integrity of the work as a whole, and have
given final approval to the version to be published.
Open Access: This article is published under the
Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License,
which permits any noncommercial use, distribution,
adaptation, and reproduction provided the original
author(s) and source are given appropriate credit.
Received: March 6, 2017
Published Online: May 12, 2017
Citation: Oncology & Hematology Review,
2017;13(1):17–8 Corresponding Author: Jennifer C King, PhD,
1700 K Street NW, Ste 660, Washington, DC
20006, US. E: email@example.com
Over the past several years, there has been a profound paradigm shift for those at high risk for
lung cancer due to the development and release of scientific validation and national guidelines and
recommendations for lung cancer screening. The lung cancer community is poised to realize an
unprecedented scale and magnitude of benefit from early detection due to five-year survival rates
of only 4.3% when lung cancer is diagnosed as metastatic disease versus 55.2% when confined to
the primary site. 1 Given the import and potential of this opportunity, there has been a clear need
to develop programs and guidance to ensure the safe, responsible, and equitable implementation
of lung cancer screening and to bring proper health messages to those at risk. Lung Cancer Alliance
(LCA), a national non-profit cancer advocacy organization, recognized this gap and has stepped in
to support the adoption of best practices and consumer safety measures, as well as public service
messaging about screening risk and benefit.
Immediately upon the scientific validation of the mortality benefit of lung cancer screening from
the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), 2 LCA moved rapidly to convene a multidisciplinary team of
health care professionals to devise a blueprint to guide the responsible implementation of screening.
The overarching goal embedded in this discussion was to ensure the public understood that they had
a right to know they could be at risk for lung cancer and that they had a right to responsible care.
And thus, the LCA National Framework for Excellence in Lung Cancer Screening and Continuum of
Care was born in February 2012. 3 Embedded within this national framework are the following guiding
principles and elements:
• increasing the public’s awareness about risk and their rights to responsible care, including
educational resources and campaigns to spread this message;
• creating a framework of agreed upon best practices to guide the safe and responsible development
of a Screening Center of Excellence medical center network that then leveraged member resources
to support each other; and
• creating collaborations and relationships with other professional and advocacy societies and
outreach to public and private payers to effect change at the policy level.
There are currently more than 475 facilities within the LCA national network of Screening Centers
of Excellence that have committed to following best practice principles of care. These practices
include following approved protocols for screening and management of findings, appropriate
communication of risks and benefits, linkage to a multidisciplinary care team, and referral to
smoking cessation services.
TOU CH MED ICA L MEDIA