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LungCAN Advocacy Program Nets 25% Increase in LCRP Funding


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The Lung Cancer Action Network (LungCAN) advocacy program may have helped increase funding for the U.S. Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program/Lung Cancer Research Program (LCRP) by 25%, according to recent findings presented by Donaldson et al at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 2023 World Conference on Lung Cancer (Abstract P2.27-04).

Background

The LCRP was established in 2009 with a funding level of $20 million; however, the program never exceeded its initial budget and at times experienced funding reductions to as low as $10.5 million per year. In contrast, other cancer research programs (eg, for breast cancer and prostate cancer) have received substantially higher annual funding.

In January 2022, LungCAN established a dedicated steering committee comprising advocates and lung cancer survivors. The committee developed a strategic plan to increase the LCRP budget—aiming to allocate funding based on the amount needed to support top-rated research proposals from the previous year.

Boosting LCRP Funding

A major obstacle faced by lung cancer advocacy organizations has been the lack of a unified Web-based platform for contacting members of Congress. To address this challenge, LungCAN—acting as a neutral entity—created a platform that allowed its members to direct their constituents to the LungCAN “Call to Action” website without the risk of losing organizational support. Through this platform, the lung cancer advocacy community consolidated to advocate for increased lung cancer research funding.

Here are some of the results of their advocacy efforts:

  • The LCRP received a 25% increase in funding, obtaining $25 million, the highest amount the program has ever been awarded.
  • The LCRP was the only Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program to receive an increase in funding.
  • Strategic social media engagement garnered 55,000 combined impressions and 33.3% engagement on Twitter.
  • Approximately 1,847 individuals participated in the effort, reaching more than 400 legislators.
  • Advocates sent more than 5,541 letters to legislators and requested $60 million for the LCRP through the LungCAN platform.
  • Additional e-mails from advocates through GO2 and LUNGevity platforms exceeded 4,000.
  • A House “Dear Colleague” letter received more than 50 cosigners.
  • The campaign garnered support beyond Congress from 80 associations and organizations.

Conclusions

“This historic success highlights the power of unity and collaboration among lung cancer advocacy organizations,” emphasized lead study author Dusty Donaldson, of LungCAN. “By joining forces and speaking with one voice, we were able to secure increased funding for lung cancer research, which is essential in advancing our fight against this devastating disease,” she concluded.

To contact legislators and request further support for the LCRP, visit lungcan.org.

Disclosure: The research in this project was a component of the LungCAN Advocacy Media Training project, funded by the Lung Ambition Alliance—comprising AstraZeneca, Guardant Health, the IASLC, and the Global Lung Cancer Coalition.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.
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