By Elridge Proctor, MPA, Director of Government Affairs & Public Policy

It’s hard sometimes to imagine that the actions of one person, or even the coordinated actions of small groups like ours, can effect change in Washington. But I’m writing to tell you it’s true: we can put a face to lung cancer to change things.

Thanks to your hard work, nearly 4,000 letters speaking out for women with lung cancer were sent to Congress last year. You sent messages. You shared your stories. You attended meetings. In fact, 120 advocates from 30 states participated in over 150 meetings on Capitol Hill during the 10th National Advocacy Summit. (Register now for the 2019 Summit in July!)

Thanks to your hard work, the Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act garnered bipartisan support—52 House and 10 Senate co-sponsors in support of women with lung cancer. Your advocacy also helped us secure an additional $14 million in fiscal year 2019, bringing the total funding for lung cancer research within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDRMP) to $141.5 million dollars.

With your voice, we know we can accomplish even more in the 116th Congress.

In 2019, we reestablished the Congressional Lung Cancer Caucus, which will lead our two key priorities: (1) more research to address the unique issue of women and lung cancer and (2) increasing federal research funding for the disease.

Women and Lung Cancer

There are 127 women serving in Congress. That’s more than ever before, and it gives us an opportunity to enhance our educational efforts so that all policymakers are aware of the increasing rate of lung cancer in young, never-smoking women and the fact that we do not know why. The Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act will be reintroduced into Congress soon. This year will be the time to make sure our elected officials know how critical it is to accelerate research and preventive screening services for women impacted by the disease.

Federal Research Funding

Our goal is to restore $20 million by FY2020 for the Lung Cancer Research Program established by LCA 10 years ago within the CDMRP administered by the Department of Defense. We secured a total of $141.5 million for lung cancer research projects between FY 2009 and FY 2019—and we won’t stop until we find a cure!

A Human Face to the Disease

Advocates made up of patients, survivors and caregivers help to put a human face to lung cancer. Yes, your voice makes a difference. Your voice helps to raise awareness and make legislators sit up, listen and support funding for increased research and preventive services to triple survivorship.

Advocacy must be done both on Capitol Hill and locally.

There are many ways you can make a big difference, and they don’t all require a trip to Washington, DC. We’ve developed a How to Become an Advocate webpage to help you determine what makes sense for you.

Here are some tips so you can take action today!

  • Send a Message: Sharing a personal lung cancer story with elected officials underscores your requests for what matters most to the lung cancer community. Visit our online platform to send a pre-written message that you personalize directly to your Senator or Congressman via email, tweet or snail mail. Here are some tips to make the most of your story.
  • Advocate from Home: Arranging a local meeting with your Members of Congress at their district offices is easier than you think!
  • Make the Trip!: Join other advocates and survivors in Washington, DC to bring your individual story and our collective message to elected officials on Capitol Hill. Sign up today for the National Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC!

Learn more about How to Become an Advocate for lung cancer by visiting our new webpage.