Recognizing Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2019
Lung cancer is a devastating disease with an annual mortality rate higher than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined. This alarming statistic, and the loss of my own grandfather to lung cancer several years ago, is what fuels my commitment to advance new therapies that may improve patient outcomes and prolong lives.
Just a couple of decades ago, the average life expectancy for a man or woman diagnosed with lung cancer was less than a year. Today, through scientific and medical advances, treatment options have improved, leading to delayed disease progression and increased life expectancy.
Immunotherapy, for instance, which stimulates an individual’s own immune system to identify and destroy cancer cells, represents an exciting and promising therapeutic approach. Further, the application of precision medicine to target specific pathways has had a profound impact on treatment outcomes for patients and will continue to do so in the future.
Janssen is focused on the research and development of targeted therapies designed to zero in on abnormalities that help cancer cells grow and spread. We believe these efforts will result in more tailored therapies to address an individual patient’s specific lung cancer type, including those with genetic alterations or mutations.
Our research efforts at Janssen are complemented by the work underway through the Johnson & Johnson Lung Cancer Initiative, focused on the prevention and interception of lung cancer. Taken together, these efforts are directed toward addressing the disease continuum – to include novel treatments and diagnostics, as well as interventions to intercept and potentially prevent lung cancer altogether in the future.
Despite many advances, there remains a significant unmet need and an urgency to discover and develop new treatments. While technological advances have enabled earlier detection of disease, continued education is needed to increase awareness of risk factors, which may aid in earlier intervention and interception strategies. Such an approach represents an important consideration in lung cancer as the disease becomes increasingly more difficult to treat when diagnosed later, which is one reason it remains the most common cause of cancer death worldwide.
Please join me this Lung Cancer Awareness Month to support the more than two million people diagnosed globally, along with those like myself who have lost loved ones to the disease. We are proud of the progress we’ve made through our research to date, and we remain focused on the fact that we must continue to do more for patients.