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Congresswoman Laura Richardson Rises in Support of National Lung Cancer Awareness Month

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Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of Lung Cancer Awareness Month because lung cancer is a devastating disease that affects thousands of Americans every year.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide. This year, as in the past, lung cancer will kill more Americans than any other cancer. In fact, lung cancer will claim more lives than the next four leading cancer killers--breast, prostate, colon and pancreas cancers--combined.

Mr. Speaker, in the United States, about 213,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year and more than 160,000 die from it. Lung cancer tends to be diagnosed later in smokers than in non smokers because the symptoms of the disease are common among smokers. Late diagnosis of the disease also makes it a lot more challenging to treat and in some cases too late to cure.

Mr. Speaker, Lung Cancer Awareness Month allows us to pay tribute to the extraordinary health workers who dedicate their lives to fighting this disease. This month we also take the opportunity to support the patients and their families who are affected by lung cancer.

For these reasons, I urge my colleagues to join me in support of Lung Cancer Awareness Month as well as to join me as a cosponsor of H.R. 1394, the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2011.

The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2011 amends the Public Health Service Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to implement a comprehensive program to achieve a 50 percent reduction in the mortality rate of lung cancer by 2020. It requires the program to include initiatives throughout HHS, including: (1) a strategic review and prioritization by the National Cancer Institute of research grants; (2) the establishment by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of quality standards and guidelines for facilities that conduct computed tomography screening for lung cancer; and (3) the provision of funds to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish a Lung Cancer Early Detection Program that provides low-income, uninsured, and underserved populations that are at high risk for lung cancer access to early detection services.

The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2011 requires the Secretary of Defense (DOD) and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to coordinate with the Secretary of HHS in implementing this Act and implementing coordinated care programs for military personnel and veterans diagnosed with lung cancer. It also requires the Secretary of HHS to establish: (1) the Lung Cancer Computed Tomography Screening and Treatment Demonstration Project; and (2) the Lung Cancer Advisory Board to monitor the programs established under this Act.