Archive for August, 2012

Keisha Kirkland is Changing the Face of Lung Cancer

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Phenomenal, brilliant, and driven are just a few words that characterize Dr. Keisha Kirkland. A woman of incredible poise and determination, Keisha Kirkland is the epitome of courage, strength, and the healing power of faith. Her radiant personality and warm spirit are evident in her smile and genuine love for people. A caring individual with a compassionate heart she contributes her time and talents to such organizations across the country as Uniting Against Lung Cancer, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and Off the Field Players Wives Association. Endowed with a tremendous testimony and unwavering resolve, she is an extraordinary woman with an extraordinary mission. Together with her husband, former All-Pro linebacker Levon Kirkland, she is spreading a message of hope, faith, and perseverance and tackling lung cancer one day at a time.

A renaissance woman with a resume of accomplishments and accolades, Keisha’s achievements encompass everything from academics and athletics to modeling and medicine. A native of Danville, KY, Keisha attended the University of Louisville and then went on to complete here Doctor of Chiropractic degree at Life University where she graduated with Cum Laude honors in 2000. Today Keisha works as a Weather Anchor for WYFF Channel 4 – NBC Affiliate in Greenville, SC. Her devoted spouse, Levon, is the wind beneath her wings. An 11-year veteran of the NFL, Levon played nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and single seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles, respectively, before retiring in 2002. Known for his great speed and agility, Levon’s strong play and tough defense earned him recognition as one of the top inside linebackers in the league.

No stranger to life-threatening illnesses, Keisha discovered she had a Pituitary Macro adenoma during her senior year of chiropractic school. After several brain surgeries, temporary paralysis, and a painstaking recovery, Keisha beat the diagnosis. As if four brain surgeries were not enough, Keisha was confronted with an entirely new challenge when doctors noticed a mass in her right lung during a scan of her heart. Keisha, a healthy non-smoker, was diagnosed with stage 3A non-small cell lung cancer in 2008, she endured surgery and months of radiation and chemotherapy. Keisha is a survivor committed to helping others win the fight against lung cancer.

She speaks to a variety of church and support groups on the importance of health, prevention, and healing through faith whenever she can. Keisha is a woman of strong faith and determination. Her hope is that someone hears her story and is inspired or encouraged through personal challenges.
Click here to watch Keisha’s video

Daniel Petro, MD, medical oncologist and hematologist at UPMC CancerCenter

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Daniel P. Petro, MD, is a medical oncologist and hematologist at Hillman Cancer Center. He treats all cancer types, and has a special interest in a multidisciplinary approach to thoracic malignancies. Dr. Petro is also heavily involved in the research of Phase I trials.
Dr. Petro is board-certified in hematology, medical oncology, and internal medicine. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and a medical degree at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Dr. Petro completed a residency at UPMC, and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.
Dr. Petro is a member of many professional organizations including, the American Association for Cancer Research, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, American Medical Association, Pennsylvania Medical Society, and the Allegheny County Medical Society.

Team Draft would like to thank Dr. Petro and also Hillman Cancer Center. It Takes a Team to Tackle Lung Cancer! Respond and Donate today, as Team Draft continues our National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer.

Jill Siegfried, PhD, co-director of the Lung Cancer Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Professor and Vice Chair of pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Co-director of the Lung and Esophageal Cancer Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)
In 2001, Dr. Siegfried and colleagues at UPCI received a five-year, $12 million Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant for lung cancer research from the National Cancer Institute.
Under the grant, Dr. Siegfried is studying the factors related to women’s increased susceptibility to lung cancer. She is examining the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor – a gene linked to abnormal cell growth in the lung that appears to be more active in women than men. Her research indicated that the gene may be regulated by estrogen and nicotine, and may be a way to explain why women are more likely to develop lung cancer, even when they are nonsmokers or smoke less than men.
Among her research accomplishments, Dr. Siegfried has identified growth factors important in the growth of nonsmall cell tumors and she has shown that neuroendocrine peptides such as gastrin-releasing peptide and neuromedin B are important regulators for nonsmall cell tumors in the lung.
Dr. Siegfried received her doctorate in pharmacology from Yale University. She joined the University of Pittsburgh as an assistant professor in 1988 after a six-year tenure at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Research Center.
Dr. Siegfried was honored with an appointment to the Lung Cancer Review Panel for the State of California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program in 2000, and received the 15th Annual Alton Ochsner Foundation Award Relating Smoking and Health in recognition of her contribution to understanding the enhanced susceptibility of women to lung cancer.

Team Draft Brings our Campaign Against Lung Cancer to Jefferson

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

During 12 years as a linebacker in the NFL, Chris Draft faced lots of tough opponents.

But after losing his young wife to lung cancer last year, Draft is taking on the disease that will be diagnosed in an estimated 226,000 Americans this year. Like many of those who develop lung cancer Keasha Rutledge Draft never smoked.

Last week, Draft was at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson as part of his campaign to raise lung cancer awareness and increase research funding for the disease that takes the lives of more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer combined. So far, Draft has visited almost 50 cancer centers in the United States

Meeting with Richard G. Pestell, MD, PhD, director of Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center, oncologists Barbara Campling, MD, and Russell J. Schilder, MD, Draft emphasized the importance of the ongoing research into finding effective treatments for lung cancer.

And, meeting with patients at Jefferson, Draft noted that lung cancer sometimes gets overlooked by the public because it is so closely associated with smoking. But many lung cancer patients, like Keasha, were never smokers.

“If we can take away the stigma that says you have to be a smoker to get lung cancer, we have a real chance to educate people about the true nature of the disease,” Draft said.

The specialists of Jefferson’s Thoracic Oncology Program offer a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to treatment that continually evaluates patients through the entire course of treatment. The Program is at the forefront of using new drugs and innovative combinations of radiation therapy, surgery and chemotherapy to improve the outcomes for patients with every type of lung cancer.

For those at high risk of developing lung cancer Jefferson offers a Lung Cancer Screening Program that provides a low-cost, one-day, state-of-the-art screening.

The Program is one of the first in the region aimed at increasing early detection rates and treatment outcomes and works in conjunction with Jefferson’s Lung Nodule Clinic to evaluate those patients whose screening detects a “spot on the lung” or nodule.

Team Draft would like to say thanks to Jefferson for allowing our national campaign to come and see the work that is needed to Change the Face of Lung Cancer. Respond and Donate Today!

Team Draft Co- Founder Helping Lung Cancer Patients

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

MAPLE SHADE, NJ — It was a class act at A Touch of Class.

Almost 100 people partied at the catering hall to the tunes of the jazz band Adelante at the second annual Lungevity Foundation fundraiser to support victims of lung cancer and promote research.

Pro football player Chris Draft, whose wife, Keasha Rutledge Draft, died of the disease despite being a nonsmoker, stopped by for the event, organized by Heather Geraghty of Maple Shade at the North Fork Landing Road business.
Geraghty, 26, was diagnosed at age 24 and underwent surgery to have a large portion of her right lung removed. Since then, she has worked to promote and raise funds for Lungevity.

“She’s an inspiration,” said Kelly Freels of Maple Shade, who attended the party with her husband, Paul, a six-year survivor.
Freels said he was lucky that his cancer was discovered early while he was being treated for pneumonia.

Draft, an NFL free agent who visited several Philadelphia area hospitals and Montgomery County Community College to promote lung-cancer awareness through his Chris Draft Family Foundation, heard about the Lungevity event through Brad Saler of Mount Laurel, whose wife, Heather, also died from the disease despite being a nonsmoker.
Saler is organizing the ninth annual Heather Saler Lung Cancer Walk for Nov. 3 at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken.
Friday’s event netted almost $3,000 through the sale of tickets and proceeds of a Chinese auction of 50 donated items, Geraghty said Monday.
Lung cancer kills more adults than any other cancer, said Dr. Angel Rodis, a Virtua pulmonologist with the Garden State Pulmonary Associates, who spoke at the event.

“All the other types of cancer get all the attention,” Rodis said. “It’s still the most fatal of all the cancers in men and women.”
He noted that there is still no “screening for lung cancer. That’s the reason we don’t catch them early.”
Rodis also is concerned that smoking seems to be “back in vogue,” especially among the young.

“I’m not sure why,” he said.

Other speakers included Harriet Quinn of Maple Shade and Garry Sytsma of Tuckerton, Ocean County, both of whom have been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Quinn praised Geraghty for her efforts on behalf of Lungevity, while Sytsma urged smokers — who Rodis said make up 90 percent of lung-cancer patients — to try to stop.

He said Nicotine Anonymous is a program that helps. Chapters are located throughout the area.

Sytsma, 46, said he hopes new diagnosis tools will be developed to detect lung cancer earlier when it is more easily treated, rather than when people are at the most serious stage 4. A diagnosis at that time is “devastating,” he said.
Since he had a collapsed lung earlier, he didn’t realize the pain he was feeling in his chest was from lung cancer. He didn’t have a bad cough or other symptoms.
“It’s a horrible, very tough diagnosis,” Sytsma said. “Instant bad news for me.”
“I think there should be more awareness to detect and cure lung cancer,” he added.

His sister, Laura Sytsma, said breast cancer gets so much publicity — and rightfully so — “but this kills more people. Because you’re a smoker … (it’s) like you deserve to be sick. Superman’s wife (the late Christopher Reeve’s spouse, Dana) died of lung cancer, and she never smoked a day in her life.”

“There needs to be a lot more done for lung-cancer awareness,” said Lisa Eivell of Maple Shade, who was diagnosed four years ago and is doing well.

“I am a voice of hope,” Eivell said.

The next Lungevity project Geraghty is helping to organize is the Breathe Deep Philadelphia 3K Walk on Sept. 23 at the Piazza at Schmidt’s at Germantown Avenue and North Second Street.

Lung Cancer survivors like Heather Geraghty bring hope to lung cancer. Team Draft needs your stories like Heather’s! Share your story and Donate Today!

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Barbara’s Story- Changing the Face of Lung Cancer

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Nearly two years later, Barbara Jones can still recall the exact date of her cancer diagnosis. “I will never forget it,” she says.

She had rushed to the hospital after waking up in the wee hours of the morning with an excruciating pain in her upper back. She couldn’t catch her breath.

Fifteen minutes after entering the Einstein Medical Center Elkins Park emergency room Barbara received a diagnosis that took her by surprise: She had a cancerous mass on her lung.

“It was upsetting,” she recalls, telling the doctor, “You’re lying to me. This can’t be.” Barbara’s anxiety was compounded by the fact that she had just lost her brother to lung cancer. He died in November and she was diagnosed in December, eleven days before her birthday.

Barbara was shocked by the original diagnosis because she had no other symptoms and she prides herself on leading a healthy lifestyle. Barbara sought a second opinion from her primary care physician, who is also at Einstein. He confirmed the diagnosis.


Soon Barbara was under the care of a team of specialists at Einstein who worked together to develop her unique treatment plan. “There were three doctors working on me and they put it all together… They all filled me in on what they decided.”

“I was treated like a human being, not just a patient. My Einstein team went out of their way to do things for me.”

- Barbara Jones

She met with all of her doctors in a single meeting, each one providing details on their role in her care. “It went from A to Z. If it was medicine they explained to me, what it would do, what the after-effects would be, what I should do if I had any problems. They gave me facts and numbers, but also kept it simple, understandable. They gave me their home phone numbers and emails so I could get in touch if I needed anything.”


Clear communication and compassionate care at Einstein meant a lot to Barbara as she battled her lung cancer. “I was treated like a human being, not just a patient. My Einstein team went out of their way to do things for me, they handled all appointment scheduling and paperwork processing. It got personal and I still have contact with them today.”


Barbara calls her treatment “my own clinical trial” because her specific care plan was so aggressive. Once doctors discovered her lung cancer had metastasized into her chest wall they prescribed the strongest doses of chemotherapy and radiation treatments allowable at the same time. “It just shows they were doing whatever they could to save me.”


Barbara faced cancer with a strong spirit and now tells others, “The best way to handle something is to stay positive and have faith, especially in the program at Einstein. Put that right foot forward and don’t step back.”

Team Draft would like to thank survivors like Barbara who have shared their story showing people that there is HOPE. Share your story today to do your part to Change the Face of Lung Cancer.

Hossein Borghaei, DO, Fox Chase Cancer Center

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Hossein Borghaei, DO
Director, Thoracic Medical Oncology
Co-Leader, Thoracic Cancer Service LIne
After completing my fellowship at Fox Chase, I joined the medical staff in 2004. I have a special interest in lung cancers. I believe in offering my patients the newest therapies available, which include antibodies and other immune-based therapies.
My laboratory research is focused on the production of monoclonal antibodies against novel targets in tumor blood vessels. These antibodies have the potential to be used in the treatment of several types of cancer. In addition, my other research interest is to learn how the body’s immune system plays a role in the fight against cancer.

We would like to thank Fox Chase Cancer Center , and Hossein Borghaei  for being a part of our National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer. Donate today to help us continue the campaign.

Margie L. Clapper, Ph.D., Fox Chase Cancer Center

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Dr. Margie L. Clapper, a cell biologist, is director of chemoprevention research at Fox Chase Cancer Center. A tenured member of the scientific staff, her interest in chemoprevention dates to 1991, when she created a laboratory program at the Center, one of the first of its kind, to develop and test methods of cancer chemoprevention—the use of natural or synthetic substances to prevent cancer. The goal is to identify people at high risk of cancer and to develop strategies to reduce these risks through prevention and early detection. Now internationally known for her preclinical chemoprevention studies, Clapper serves on a number of National Cancer Institute review panels, external advisory boards and professional committees, including the European Commission’s collaborative group on genetic susceptibility to environmental carcinogens. She is a member of the editorial boards of Cancer Prevention Research, Clinical Cancer Research and the Journal of Clinical Oncology and a reviewer for many other journals. Clapper’s current research uses laboratory models of heritable and colitis-associated colorectal cancer and smoke-induced lung cancer to develop clinical therapies for the prevention of early cellular changes that lead to cancer. Results from this translational laboratory research have already provided the scientific basis for several clinical chemoprevention trials at Fox Chase. Her earlier work includes the first attempt to develop a cancer preventive regimen for individuals with ulcerative colitis. A graduate of the State University of New York at Oneonta, Dr. Clapper earned her Ph.D. in genetics and cell biology at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. She joined Fox Chase as a postdoctoral associate in the department of pharmacology in 1986.

Fox Chase and Dr. Margie L. Clapper are playing their part with Team Draft’s National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer, and we would like to extend a huge thanks. Donate today to help us continue the campaign.

Hope, Love, Cure

Friday, August 17th, 2012

“I am nothing but I must be everything.” ― Karl Marx

On Dec. 28, 2010, I was told I had lung cancer. It didn’t seem possible. I was only 24!

Early in December I had experienced persistant chest pain that ultimately led me to my local Emergency Room. I received a CT Scan that showed a mass in the middle lobe of my right lung. On December 28, 2010 after a series of non-surgical procedures it was determined to be lung cancer.Read More

Changing the Face of Lung Cancer with the University of Colorado

Thursday, August 16th, 2012