Lung Cancer in Women: Lets do something about it!

Posted by Dr. Guneet Walia on February 25th, 2016

Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation partners with the American Lung Association to fund $250,000 on innovative and transformational research to defeat lung cancer in women

An unfortunate and often unknown fact is that lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in women, estimated to be the cause of 1 in 4 female cancer deaths in 2016. In 2012, the 209,000 deaths in developed countries from lung cancer in women far outnumbered the 197,000 deaths from breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society 2016 report on cancer facts and figures, while deaths in the United States from breast cancer are expected to be slightly more than 40,000 in 2016, female deaths from lung cancer are predicted to be over 72,000.

momentum-award-2“Over the last few decades, the rate of new lung cancer cases has approximately doubled among women while decreasing about 30 percent among men. The need for this lifesaving research and momentum is clear,” said Bonnie Addario, 11-year lung cancer survivor and founder of the Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI). “Historically, there have been large gender gaps in scientific research, and this limits how much we know about the difference between women’s health and men’s. This new research award will help address this gap and save lives.”

The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is pleased to announce their first partnership with the American Lung Association (ALA) on a new research award to fund innovative and transformational research with the potential for high clinical impact in diagnostic and treatment options for lung cancer in women.

The Momentum Research Award: Defeating Lung Cancer in Women is a two-year, $250,000 award designed to drive research aimed at increasing our understanding of gender differences in lung cancer incidence, pathophysiology, treatment outcomes and prognoses.

This is the first joint award between the two organizations and will support an early career scientist to conduct research investigating the particular burden of lung cancer among women. The award is intended to identify brilliant, early career “out-of-the-box” thinkers/researchers who can deliver a meaningful and measurable result examining the unique problem of lung cancer in women.

momentum-award-1Several studies have indicated that women are more susceptible to developing lung cancer than men. Female smokers are twice as likely to develop lung cancer as male smokers, even when they smoke fewer cigarettes over a shorter period of time. Even among non-smokers, the risk of developing lung cancer is higher among women than men: 1 in 5 women who develop lung cancer have never smoked, whereas 1 in 12 men diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked.

“The reasons for these gender differences in lung cancer incidence, risk factors, histology, pathophysiology, treatment outcomes, prognoses etc. are still unclear. The five year survival rate for women with lung cancer is only one in five, and we need to change that,” said Addario, “ALCF would like research efforts to be directed to investigate these aspects in further detail.”

Some studies suggest that female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, may play a part in the development of lung cancer among women, but the precise mechanisms are unclear. The hope is that further investigation of the pathophysiology of female hormones in lung cancer subtypes will lead to a better understanding of lung carcinogenesis.

“Lung cancer is not just the top cancer killer for both men and women, the startling truth is that the average 5-year survival for lung cancer is among the lowest of all types of cancer,” said Harold P. Wimmer, American Lung Association National President and CEO. “New treatment options are desperately and urgently needed to save lives, and we’re proud to partner with the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation to fund promising lung cancer research that could dramatically impact the lives of patients and newly diagnosed.”

Through the Momentum Research Award, the ALCF and ALA hope to be able to drive research to defeat lung cancer in women.

Learn more about this $250,000 funding opportunity.

Apply for the Momentum Research Award funded by the ALCF and the ALA.

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