We all know the grim statistics about lung cancer. How it is a common form of cancer (230,000 new patients 2012, or 14% of all cancers); how poor the survival is (leading to 30% of all cancer deaths, 50% die within 1 year, only 15% survive 5 years); how early detection has been elusive (only 15% are diagnosed at a curable stage); how research support has woefully lagged behind (research spending per death at $1829, which is a fraction of what it is for for breast at $23,000, colon at $14,000, or prostate at $5,200); and we do not know what causes lung cancer (60% new cancer diagnoses are in former smokers or never smokers).
We at Jefferson are optimistic for the future for lung cancer care and research. The incidence of new lung cancer has dropped for men and women; smoking rates have declined with aggressive anti-tobacco approaches; for the first time there is an evidence-based approach for early detection and significant improvement in survival (recent low dose CTstudy); improved molecular genomic tools to further stratify different types of lung cancer; development of novel blood-based biomarkers for prognostication; availability of new molecular "targets" or pathways leading to designer or target therapies available to patients now unlike in the recent past; the possibility that conventional chemotherapy which attacks the whole body may be a relic in the near future.
Through a generous gift from the Korman Foundation, we have established a unique multidisciplinary collaboration between various specialties to improve both care of lung cancer and other lung diseases as well as improve our focus and care for patients in a cohesive manner. We are making a commitment to compassionate excellence, to become one of the leading programs regionally and nationally.
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