WASHINGTON, Nov. 06, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Lung Cancer Awareness Month Coalition (LCAMC), a group of more than twenty research and advocacy organizations from around the world focused on thoracic cancers, announced the launch of the 2017 Lung Cancer Awareness Month with a panel event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Panelists outlined the most pressing topics in lung cancer prevention and treatment, and their priorities for this November, focusing on better implementation of lung cancer screening guidelines, expanding knowledge of treatment options and growing patient participation in decision making and in clinical trials.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month is held each November to increase awareness for the disease, which is the most deadly of cancers and produces more than 225,000 new cases per year in the United States alone.

“The idea behind this month and this Coalition is to unite all of the people and organizations working to improve patient outcomes through unified objectives,” said Dr. Fred Hirsch, CEO of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), which leads the Coalition. “We have made great progress in recent years, but there is much more to accomplish – and we are stronger together than we are individually.”

Increased Screening:

During the panel, Coalition partners outlined the dire need for a comprehensive implementation of existing country-specific lung cancer screening guidelines for high-risk individuals. Although clear data exists identifying who should be screened, implementation still lags. In the United States, for instance, of the approximately nine million people who qualify for screening, only about three percent actually get screened.

“We can reduce lung cancer mortality by 20 percent with a full implementation of lung cancer screening guidelines,” noted Dr. Hirsch.

Expanding Knowledge of Treatment Options:

Coalition members and panelists also discussed the need to educate patients about their treatment options, which are rapidly expanding. With advances in molecular categorization of tumors, a variety of emerging targeted therapies, immunotherapies and other precision medicines, there are a number of options for patients beyond traditional forms of treatment, even for those with advanced stages of the disease. Members and panelists also expressed a need for better education for community doctors about lung cancer’s rapid advances. With more information, these doctors will have greater awareness of the treatments that save patients’ lives.

“Research has made huge improvements in not that long of a timespan. Back in 2006, there was virtually nothing. At the time, we met a lot of patients whose doctor simply said ‘Oh, you have lung cancer, go home and get your affairs in order.’ Today, that just isn’t the case,” said Montessa Lee, a survivor and advocate. "In these last couple of years, we’ve seen a whirlwind of new advances and new treatments.”

Increasing Clinical Trials:

The last key area of focus discussed was dramatically increasing clinical trials, which are generating promising results. While clinical trials can provide better outcomes than standard treatments, only three to five percent of lung cancer patients in the U.S. participate in clinical trials.

Throughout the month, the Coalition partners will also continue to focus on smoking prevention, which remains the leading cause of lung cancer. They will also work to combat unfair stigma associated with the disease, educating the public on recent medical progress and the multiple causes of lung cancer, such as radon exposure, family history and other environmental factors.

The panel featured LCAMC partner organizations as well as additional survivors, advocates and lung cancer researchers.

To donate to one of the LCAMC partners, please visit: http://lcam.org/donate2017/

About The Lung Cancer Awareness Month Coalition (LCAMC):

The Lung Cancer Awareness Month Coalition (LCAMC) is composed of more than 20 global non-profits focused on thoracic cancers, led by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC). During Lung Cancer Awareness Month (LCAM) in November, the Coalition unites to focus on improving outcomes for lung cancer patients by educating physicians and patients on potentially lifesaving treatment options. It also works to generate more awareness among the public about the impact of lung cancer and how we can collectively battle against the disease, which is the most deadly cancer. Please visit www.LCAM.org for more information.

Media Contact: Natalie Giannangeli | 212-784-5706 | ngiannangeli@groupgordon.com