Dear President Obama, Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Reid:
There is a blight upon our country. It's called lung cancer.
Lung cancer will kill 160,000 of us in 2013. That’s three times more than any other cancer. Among those hardest hit will be the men and women of our armed forces, past and present.
And when it comes to gender equality, lung cancer is an unfortunate area of catch-up, with lung cancer diagnoses among women up six-fold in 30 years. Then there is this little known and disturbing fact: one in five women with lung cancer never smoked. That’s more than twice the rate seen among men with the disease. No one knows why.
We wish we could be hopeful. But the fact is that while there have been dramatic improvements in the survival rates for many other cancers, the five-year survival rate for stage IV lung cancer – the most common staging at diagnosis – is just four percent, where it was decades ago.
It’s time for action. Unfortunately, successive congressional sessions and presidential administrations, Republican and Democratic alike, have stood by and let this sorry story unfold. But there is something this President and this Congress can do about it: pass the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act.
The Act -- which has lingered in both houses of Congress for more than three years -- seeks to cut in half the number of annual lung cancer deaths by 2020. It is smart, bipartisan, long overdue legislation that our elected officials in Washington have inexplicably dragged their feet on.
This Congress has a unique opportunity to prove to the public that it can rise above partisan politics and work together on issues that matter to the American people. We urge you to act.