Public Release: 

National lung cancer roundtable brings together patients, clinicians, others

Former NFL player Christ Draft is keynote speaker

American Cancer Society

December 11, 2017- The National Lung Cancer Roundtable holds its inaugural meeting on December 11-12, 2017 in Bethesda, Md., the first major meeting for a new nationwide coalition of organizations committed to addressing the challenges of moving lung cancer screening into the mainstream.

The Roundtable, launched in March 2017, currently includes approximately 65 organizational members, among them clinical professionals, researchers, lung cancer advocates and patients, healthcare organizations and cancer centers, insurers, and government agencies.

The first annual meeting will feature keynote speaker Chris Draft, a former NFL player who launched Team Draft in 2011 with his wife Keasha, who died of lung cancer. The meeting will: provide updates on the work so far and create a workplan for 2018; engage NLCRT Members to strive to reduce the incidence of and mortality from lung cancer; and showcase all aspects of the NLCRT and its membership through plenary and breakout sessions. Sessions include lung cancer screening implementation, provider engagement and outreach, tobacco cessation in the context of lung cancer screening, shared decision-making, and optimal therapy.

"Whatever one's connection to lung cancer, whether involved in research, clinical medicine, public health, or advocacy, no one has a greater understanding of the impact of that work than the patient," said "K" (Karen) Latzka, lung cancer survivor. "Within the patient community are passionate, intelligent, and caring individuals just waiting to take part in this important work, and I'm honored to be at the Roundtable as their representative."

"By bringing together experts across professional disciplines and patient advocacy groups, interested parties from payors/insurance companies, research funding agencies, and industry, we will articulate the needed knowledge and resources and define a pathway to tackle the number one cause of cancer death in the United States," said Ella Kazerooni, M.D., professor of radiology at the University of Michigan and chair of the National Lung Cancer Roundtable. "By working together, rather than independently, we will make greater and faster progress in reducing the burden of this terrible disease."

"It is an honor to give the keynote speech at The American Cancer Society's first National Lung Cancer Roundtable conference," said Mr. Draft. "My wife, Keasha, was diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2010, and unfortunately passed in December 2011. From that time, I have witnessed tremendous innovations in lung cancer with respect to awareness, detection, treatment, research and survivorship. We are on the cusp of drastically changing the survival rate in lung cancer, so I believe it a perfect time to convene the thought leaders in lung cancer and figure out how we can make a larger impact together moving forward."

"I personally know how critical early detection is for cancer survival; especially lung cancer," said Deena Cook, patient advocate with Lung Cancer Alliance. "Having the opportunity to attend the NLCRT as a patient, I hope to provide insight into the stigma surrounding this disease. To successfully implement a lifesaving lung cancer screening program, we must cut through this stigma. I am very excited to attend the NLCRT. Screening does save lives."

The meeting marks the first annual conference for the group, which is tasked with bringing organizations and experts together to assess issues and challenges to meeting its goals. A fundamental premise of the Roundtable is that collective action among member organizations will be more successful in reducing the burden of disease. The Roundtable strives to avoid duplicating roles of member organizations, but rather to enhance lung cancer control through greater engagement with key organizations, as well as to take on initiatives that all organizations would judge to be worthy but would be unlikely to initiate on their own.

Steering Committee Roster:

  • Ella A. Kazerooni, MD, MS (Chair), University of Michigan

  • Douglas E. Wood, MD (Vice Chair), University of Washington

  • Robert A. Smith, PHD (PI), American Cancer Society

  • Joseph Chin, MD, MS, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

  • V. Paul Doria-Rose, DVM, PHD, National Cancer Institute

  • Laurie Fenton Ambrose, Lung Cancer Alliance

  • Thomas P. Houston, MD, American Academy of Family Physicians

  • Jane Kim, MD, MPH, Department of Veterans Affairs

  • Bryan Loy, MD, MBA, Humana

  • Peter Mazzone, MD, MPH, Cleveland Clinic

  • Jamie S. Ostroff, PHD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

  • Gerard A. Silvestri, MD, MS, Medical University of South Carolina

  • Joelle Thirsk Fathi, DNP, RN, ARNP, Washington State Nurses Association

The Roundtable is funded by an unrestricted educational grant from AstraZeneca and in-kind support from the American Cancer Society. For more information, contact Lauren Rosenthal, MPH, Director of the NLCRT at and Robert A. Smith, Ph.D., Vice President of Cancer Screening at the American Cancer Society at


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