From the experts

The VA’s Commitment to Helping Veterans with Lung Cancer

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) operates the nation's largest integrated health care system, with more than 1,700 hospitals, clinics, community living centers, and other facilities. In 2017, the U.S. veteran population totaled over 20 million. This includes people who have performed many types of military service under a variety of conditions. Unfortunately, American veterans are disproportionately affected by lung cancer, making lung cancer a major concern for many veterans and their families.

The Importance of Health Disparities Research

In 2021, LUNGevity Foundation announced our inaugural Health Equity and Inclusiveness Workforce Development Awards to help combat the lack of diversity among lung cancer researchers as well as disparities in the lung cancer research itself. To learn more about the health disparities research and why it matters to all people, LUNGevity Foundation spoke with Robert Winn, MD, director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center and member of LUNGevity’s Board of Directors. 

LUNGevity Foundation: How do we know these disparities exist?

New Options in Adjuvant Therapy for Early-Stage NSCLC

Historically, surgery has been the most effective treatment for patients with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). While technological improvements, such as the development of minimally invasive techniques (such as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery or VATS), have made surgeries safer for patients, the ability to cure early-stage NSCLC patients hasn’t improved significantly in recent decades. Even after successful surgeries that completely remove the visible tumor, about half of these patients will face a recurrence with their cancer coming back within five years.

Pulmonary Rehab for Lung Cancer

Some people with lung cancer have reduced lung function from their cancer or their treatments, like surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. People with diminished lung functional capacity or shortness of breath may find pulmonary rehabilitation, a medical program that helps manage breathing, to be a helpful part of their palliative care.

Dr. Patricia Fogelman, DNP, a palliative care provider, talked to us to help us learn more about pulmonary rehab and its benefits.

Improving Immunotherapy Outcomes for Patients with Advanced NSCLC

Checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy has revolutionized lung cancer treatment and ushered in a new era of scientific discovery that is focused on empowering our natural immune system to target and eradicate lung cancer. While some patients see a strong long-lasting benefit from checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy, there remains a significant proportion of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who do not show a lasting benefit.