Lung Cancer Foundation

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Lung Cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women, claiming more lives than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined - killing twice as many women as breast cancer. But, there is a stigma associated with lung cancer – that only those who smoke will get the disease, so in some way they are responsible for their illness. The truth is that 65 percent of lung cancer patients either never smoked or quit smoking years ago.

Another misconception about lung cancer is that there is not much hope once you are diagnosed. However, new research has provided amazing tools in the fight against lung cancer and is helping to change the outcomes, providing much needed hope for all diagnosed patients. In fact, there have been more advances made in the past two years than the past 10 years.

One advance from this type of pioneering research is the liquid biopsy. Physicians can now take a drop of blood, test or screen it, and see if your tumor has a specific biomarker that may be treated with a targeted therapy. Researchers have learned that no two tumors are alike, similar to how each snowflake is unique. So, biomarker testing is used to identify the unique composition of each tumor and then targeted therapies are developed to attack tumors with specific biomarkers.

Even with these new precise treatments providing so much hope to lung cancer patients – there are still many unanswered questions and these treatments do not work for all lung cancer patients. Researchers are on the precipice of lung cancer breakthroughs and Lung Cancer Foundation of America works to fund research for these lifesaving treatments. Your help is needed to make sure these advances in treatment come to fruition.

During this tour, Christine Lovly, MD, PhD, a Vanderbilt assistant professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology and Linnea Olson, a lung cancer patient will discuss treatment breakthroughs in the battle against lung cancer and how the Lung Cancer Foundation of America is working to fund life-saving research. Linnea Olson, a non-smoker, was initially diagnosed in 2001 with adult onset asthma – but she didn’t feel better and was continuously misdiagnosed until a long bout with pneumonia led to a CT scan which revealed a large mass in her lungs - 4 long years later. In 2008, Linnea became very sick again and was given three to eight months to live. After undergoing genetic testing that showed she was ALK positive, she was given the option of going on a cutting-edge Phase 1 clinical trial. Despite never having more than a 70% reduction in disease, she has learned to live with the disease as a manageable, chronic condition. Instead of NED (No Evidence of Disease), Linnea says she’s NDY (Not Dead Yet). Her experience has made her a patient advocate and a lung cancer activist.

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