LungCAN: Advocates Working Together

Previously, I wrote about “Paying It Forward” and encouraged advocates to engage with a nonprofit organization dedicated to the lung cancer. But how can you know which organization to support? Some people feel passionate about supporting research for new treatments, while others want to see direct, practical support for patients fighting the disease. As the co-chair of the Lung Cancer Action Network (LungCAN), I have the opportunity to work with many of these lung cancer nonprofits. LungCAN is a collaborative association comprising approximately 25 U.S.‐based 501(C)(3) nonprofit organizations with a primary focus on lung cancer advocacy.

How does LungCAN operate?

Individual lung cancer patients and advocates who want to engage with a lung cancer advocacy nonprofit can visit the LungCAN website to research the member organizations, which are US-based nonprofit organizations serving the lung cancer community. Some of the members are large nonprofits that fund millions of dollars of lung cancer research. Others are small or regional nonprofits operating on shoestring budgets, like my own nonprofit LiveLung, that focuses on patient support.

To be a member of LungCAN, an organization must:

  • Be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit;
  • Been in operation at least one year;
  • Focus on lung cancer; and
  • Sign an agreement to respect other member organizations.

LungCAN logoThe word synergy—the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects—best defines LungCAN. LungCAN members collaborate on strategic projects to efficiently and effectively serve those at risk for or living with lung cancer. LungCAN cultivates a cooperative environment, encourages the exchange of ideas, fosters effectiveness and efficiency, and gives member organizations a united voice behind a shared cause. LungCAN honors and respects each member organization’s brand, personality and unique mission. LungCAN is not a nonprofit itself so it does not compete with its members by soliciting donations or recruiting volunteers.

LungCAN members participate in monthly conference calls. However, through LungCAN’s face-to-face meetings, our members keep informed about each other’s activities, as well as recognize synergistic opportunities. More importantly, in-person meetings help us all realize that we share many of the same goals and objectives. LungCAN face-to-face meetings help members see each other as collaborators and potential partners rather than competitors.

Our meetings feature speakers who keep the advocacy leaders up-to-date on treatment advances and issues relevant to the lung cancer patient community. For these reasons, one of LungCAN’s most important activity is its face-to-face meeting.  This year, and twice previously, the Bonnie Addario Lung Cancer Foundation has generously offered to host our next meeting in January 2018 at their headquarters in San Carlos, California.

Some of LungCAN’s past collaborative activities include the following:

  • Letter campaign advocating for insurance coverage for lung cancer screening;
  • National Press Club Press Conference kicking off Lung Cancer Awareness Month;
  • National social media campaigns raising recognizing Lung Cancer Awareness Month;
  • Social media campaign about radon awareness and distributing radon test kits in high-risk areas;
  • Developing Lung cancer Patients’ Bill of Rights;
  • Communicating among member organizations to promote unified statistics;
  • Develop collaborative patient education materials to share among member organizations;
  • Host an advocacy booth at ASCO featuring member organizations.

Check out all of the nonprofit lung cancer organizations and commit to engaging with one of more to give or receive a little help. For more information about LungCAN, visit

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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