News Release

U.S. advocacy strategy nets a 25 percent increase in lung cancer research funding

Reports and Proceedings

International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

Dusty Donaldson, Lung Cancer Action Network

image: Dusty Donaldson, Lung Cancer Action Network view more 

Credit: Dusty Donaldson, Lung Cancer Action Network

[Singapore, 10:05 a.m. SGT--September 12, 2023] - A unified and concentrated lung cancer advocacy program in the United States resulted in a 25 percent increase in funding to a U.S.-based lung cancer research program, according to a presentation given today at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer 2023 World Conference on Lung Cancer in Singapore.

Lung cancer remains a major health concern, with mortality rates posing a significant challenge both globally and in the United States. The U.S. Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program/Lung Cancer Research Program (LCRP) was established in 2009 with a funding level of $20 million, but had never exceeded its initial budget, and at times, funding was even reduced to as low as $10.5 million per year. In stark contrast, other cancer research programs, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer, received substantially higher annual funding.

In January 2022, the Lung Cancer Action Network (LungCAN) took action by forming a dedicated Steering Committee of passionate advocates led by Jill Morningstar, a strong advocate with Capitol Hill experience, along with her husband Al Fitzpayne, a lung cancer survivor. 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.

A major obstacle faced by lung cancer advocacy organizations was 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 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 joined forces, speaking with one voice to advocate for increased lung cancer research funding.

The efforts yielded remarkable results:

  • The LCRP received a 25 percent increase in funding, receiving a record-breaking $25 million, the highest amount the program has ever been awarded.
  • The LCRP was the only CDMRP cancer program to receive an increase in funding.
  • Strategic social media engagement garnered a remarkable 55,000 combined impressions and 33.3 percent engagement on Twitter.
  • Approximately 1,847 individuals participated in the effort, reaching more than 400 legislators.
  • Advocates sent over 5,541 letters to legislators requesting $60 million for the LCRP through the LungCAN platform,
  • Additional emails from advocates through GO2 and LUNGevity platforms exceeded 4,000.
  • A House “Dear Colleague” letter received more than 50 co-signers, the highest number ever.
  • The campaign garnered support from 80 associations and organizations, growing beyond Congress.

"This historic success highlights the power of unity and collaboration among lung cancer advocacy organizations," said Dusty Donaldson, representing Lung Cancer Action Network. "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."

This project was a component of the LungCAN Advocacy Media Training project, funded by Lung Ambition Alliance, comprising AstraZeneca, Guardant Health, International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, and the Global Lung Cancer Coalition.

About the IASLC:

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organization dedicated solely to the study of lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies. Founded in 1974, the association's membership includes more than 8,000 lung cancer specialists across all disciplines in over 100 countries, forming a global network working together to conquer lung and thoracic cancers worldwide. The association also publishes the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the primary educational and informational publication for topics relevant to the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of all thoracic malignancies. Visit for more information.



About the WCLC:

The WCLC is the world’s largest meeting dedicated to lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies, attracting more than 7,000 researchers, physicians, and specialists from more than 100 countries. The goal is to increase awareness, collaboration, and understanding of lung cancer, and to help participants implement the latest developments across the globe. The conference will cover a wide range of disciplines and unveil several research studies and clinical trial results. For more information, visit


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