Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the United States and worldwide. In fact, lung cancer is responsible for more deaths in this country than the next three most common causes of cancer death combined – colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and pancreatic cancer. 

According to estimates by the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, 235,760 patients will be diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancer and 131,880 patients will die of the disease in the United States in 2021

Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. Other risk factors for lung cancer include being exposed to secondhand smoke, having a family history of lung cancer, being treated with radiation therapy to the breast or chest, exposure to asbestos, chromium, nickel, arsenic, soot, or tar in the workplace, and exposure to radon. When smoking is combined with other risk factors, the risk of lung cancer is increased.

There are two main forms of lung cancer – small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer is the more common form of the disease. The most common subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, which begins in the thin, flat squamous cells; large cell carcinoma; and adenocarcinoma, which begins in the cells that line the alveoli, the tiny sacs within the lungs. Other less common types of non-small cell lung cancer are: pleomorphic, carcinoid tumor, salivary gland carcinoma, and unclassified carcinoma. 

November Is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. 

What Is the AACR Doing in This Area? 

In January 2020, the AACR and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) presented the sixth AACR-IASLC International Joint Conference: Lung Cancer Translational Science. Established in 2010, this conference has historically drawn a diverse group of attendees (physicians, patient advocates, and scientists in basic, translational, and clinical lung cancer research) and provided a venue to discuss recent advances and establish new collaborations.

In addition to lung cancer-focused conferences, the AACR partners with a private family foundation for a series of lung-cancer oriented sessions held at the AACR Annual Meeting: the Dharma Master Jiantai Recent Advances in Lung Cancer Session, the Dharma Master Jiantai Symposium in Biomarkers, and the Dharma Master Jiantai Symposium in Targeted Therapy. 

The AACR also awarded a number of grants in the field of lung cancer research in 2021: 

  • Joseph Minhow Chan, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – AACR-AstraZeneca Lung Cancer Research Fellow
  • Fatemeh Momen-Heravi, DDS, PhD, MPH, MS, Columbia University – AACR-Bayer Innovation and Discovery Grant
  • Chris Nabel, MD, PhD, Mass General – AACR-Novocure Tumor Treating Fields Research Grant
  • Alison M. Taylor, PhD, Columbia University – The AACR Gertrude B. Elion Cancer Research Award
  • Suhe Wang, MD, PhD, University of Michigan – AACR-AstraZeneca Lung Cancer Research Fellowship