This week the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) confirmed that it had signed an agreement for a public-private partnership with GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer to increase awareness about lung screening options and improve outcomes for Veterans impacted by lung cancer.
The GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer, founded by patients and survivors, helps transforms survivorship as the world’s leading organization dedicated to saving, extending, and improving the lives of vulnerable people, at-risk, and diagnosed with lung cancer. The organization helps to change the reality of living with lung cancer by ending stigma, increasing public and private research funding, and ensuring access to care.
This partnership aims to make resources, programs, and services available through GO2Foundation’s national network of more than 750 screening centers.
“Research and initiatives to ensure access to early detection and treatment will greatly improve the care of Veterans with lung cancer,” said Robert Wilkie, the 10th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs and former undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
“This public-private partnership will help expand the array of services that are currently available within Veterans Affairs and increase public awareness about Veteran-specific conditions that place Veterans at greater risk for lung cancer.”
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and claims more lives each year than all other major cancers combined. The disease is generally diagnosed at an advanced, incurable stage because patients often lack signs and symptoms in the early stages of the disease.
Each year, Veterans Affairs diagnoses 7,700 Veterans with lung cancer and an estimated 900,000 Veterans remain at risk due to age, smoking, and other environmental exposures during and after military service. Military personnel – and Veterans – are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer than the general population due to increased rates of smoking as well as an increased likelihood of being exposed to environmental carcinogens during their service.
“This important milestone allows us to share with Veterans Affairs our many years of experience developing best practices for lung cancer screening and care to help improve outcomes for Veterans impacted by this disease,” noted Chief Executive Officer, Co-founder and President of GO2 Foundation Laurie Fenton Ambrose.
Specific health factors
Veterans Affairs will help educate staff at GO2 Foundation screening centers about Veteran-specific health factors related to lung cancer risk, prevention and response to treatment; share information about applying for Veterans Affairs health care and benefits; and provide access to suicide prevention resources.
This partnership will also provide Veterans Affairs with additional resources from the GO2 Foundation to help support lung screening program implementation, professional development training, and Veteran education.
Many of these GO2 Foundation resources are available online and support social distancing guidelines designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The collaboration is managed by the Veterans Affairs National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and facilitated by the Veterans Health Administration Office of Community Engagement.
Featured image: Pathology resident Army Capt. Leonora Dickson trims tissue in preparation for a consultation at the Joint Pathology Center in Silver Spring, Md., March 6, 2012. Photo courtesy: © 2012 Terri Moon Cronk/DOD