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For the next few days I am attending the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Amsterdam. More than 100 countries are represented and there are 50 patient advocates from 21 countries. (That’s up from two in 1997, and I was one of the two!) The International Association of the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) hosts this very important global conference.

While at the Annual World Conference on Lung Cancer, I attended the Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC) that meets during the Conference. In 2001, the Prevent Cancer Foundation, along with several other leading international cancer organizations, founded the Global Lung Cancer Coalition, to promote global understanding of the burden of lung cancer and the right of patients to effective early detection, better treatment and supportive care.

As the Coalition’s vice chair, I am pleased to report that in less than a decade the GLCC has grown from eight organizations from five countries to 26 organizations from 16 countries on five continents (North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia).

GLCC is presently focusing its efforts on sharing more information via social media. The Coalition is overhauling its Web site and already has a Facebook page and is becoming increasingly more active on Twitter. To further expand our social media presence the GLCC is establishing a YouTube Channel and a LinkedIn group. Social media affords the Coalition the opportunity to learn more and share more information on lung cancer awareness and better outcomes on a truly global scale.

The GLCC is also preparing for the Annual Journalism Awards for each country. Last year in the U.S. there were three awards presented: one for national media, one for local media and one for new media. Two of the three award-winning articles were written by lung cancer survivors about their experience with the disease.

One important feature of this year’s conference is the emphasis on screening and early detection of lung cancer. The value of this cannot be overemphasized, as about 85% of all cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in late stages when chances of successful treatment are much lower. On Monday, July 4, there was a press conference during which the following statement was released. Important screening studies are now taking place worldwide with the hope that more cases of lung cancer will be detected early, leading to a successful outcome.