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New Initiative Aims To Raise Awareness For Lung Cancer

(CBS) -- Every five minutes, a woman is diagnosed with lung cancer and half, will die in the first year. It's the number one cancer killer in women.

Stats like that have led to a call for action. CBS 2's Roseanne Tellez has more on a new initiative aimed at stamping out lung cancer.

Jill Feldman lost her dad to lung cancer when he was just 41-years-old. Next, both her mom, and aunt died of lung cancer in their 50s. Five years ago, at 39, Feldman would begin her own battle against the disease.

But unlike her relatives, she never even smoked.

"People believe if you haven't been exposed to smoke or carcinogens in the workplace, they're safe. It's not true," said Feldman.

"Anyone, anytime and any age can get cancer, whether they've smoked or not," said James Martinez of the American Lung Association.

Wednesday, the American Lung Association will announce a new initiative called Lung Force, intended to call attention to the number one cancer killer of women.

"It's a mission to unite women to fight against lung cancer and for lung health," said Martinez.

Martinez says funding for research, treatment and early detection is low despite dire statistics. In fact, three times more money is spent on breast cancer research.

"The survival rate for breast cancer is 90 percent, for lung cancer, 17 percent," said Martinez.

Still, Feldman, who's involved in the advocacy group Lungevity, says it's scary.

Especially when you have kids…but there's hope and I know there's hope," said Feldman. "It all starts with awareness and education. A movement is exactly what we need."

Lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer for men and women. So why the focus on women? The American Lung Association says new cases in women have doubled over the last 35 years.

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