In June, VA announced a partnership with the nonprofit GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer to increase awareness about lung cancer screening options and improve outcomes for Veterans impacted by the disease.
Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related mortality among Veterans, according to the VHA National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NCP), the office that manages this partnership.
Laurie Fenton Ambrose is co-founder, president and CEO of GO2 Foundation. She said for more than 15 years, GO2 has made bringing screening and care to military individuals a priority.
Increase access to screening
This partnership will focus on developing and sharing technical resources with health care professionals. It will teach those professionals, inside and outside of VA, the importance of screening. It will also tailor educational outreach specific to Veteran communities and increasing access to screening of Veterans at risk for lung cancer at medical centers.
Several board members of GO2 Foundation are Veterans. The board includes three- and four-star retired admirals, a two-star general and a retired lieutenant colonel of the United States Army.
“Both our board and VA leadership grasp the importance of this partnership,” Ambrose said. “This partnership will link prevention, early detection and treatment research together in a continuum of care. That care will move the needle toward better health outcomes for Veterans. The goal is to save lives.
“When you screen for lung cancer you can find and detect the disease at its earliest, most treatable and most curable stage. We can literally transform survivorship with this approach.”
Counseling Veterans who smoke
Screening for lung cancer is an important opportunity to counsel those who are current smokers as well.
VHA’s NCP is also focused on screening for lung cancer, and offers informative resources for Veterans about screenings and VA’s work in this area.
Dr. Drew Moghanaki is section chief of radiation oncology at the Atlanta VA Health Care System. He’s also an associate professor at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. Moghanaki said, “I think the GO2 Foundation is ideally situated to help all Americans better understand how committed VA is to addressing lung cancer. We will leave no one behind as we try to tackle the No. 1 cause of cancer related mortality among Veterans. It’s just so sad that we lose 15 Veterans a day to lung cancer.”
How best to reduce lung cancer mortality
Dr. Tracy L. Weistreich, OCE nurse executive, said the partnership represents the importance of collaboration and resource-sharing.
“Both VA and GO2 Foundation have years of experience and deep knowledge of the lung cancer community,” she said. “They will bring gained knowledge and unique perspectives to the table. We will explore side-by-side how to best reach the Veteran community to reduce lung cancer diagnosis and mortality.”
Learn more about OCE’s partnership work throughout VHA.
Georgeanna Bady is a health systems specialist for the VHA Office of Community Engagement.