Archive for November, 2012

A Survivor at Every Game: The St. Louis Rams Support The Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer During Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

A nonsmoker who regularly works out, Dan Friedman wasn’t the stereotypical person at risk for lung cancer. Yet there he was in 2011, at age 43, hearing he had the disease.

“It was a shock,” says the married father of three. “Unfortunately, I discovered that lung cancer can attack almost anyone.”

Friedman’s story is more typical than many people think. Factors, including a family history of the disease and exposure to secondhand smoke or asbestos, are also threats.

Broadening people’s understanding of lung cancer is an important goal of the Chris Draft Family Foundation. As part of a national campaign to change the face of the disease, the Draft foundation invited lung cancer patients and physicians to NFL games across the country on Nov. 18. Friedman attended a St. Louis Rams game with his wife, Kelly Corday, and their children Mary, 16, and Jon, 14. (Another son, Daniel, 21, is in the U.S. Air Force, serving in Japan.) Siteman medical oncologist Maria Baggstrom, MD, met Friedman’s family at the game.

“Lung cancer has changed our lives, but we don’t let it control everything we do,” Friedman says. “I continue to work, work out and spend meaningful time with my wife and kids.”

Chris Draft, the former Rams linebacker who founded the nonprofit, lost his wife, Keasha, to lung cancer last year. She also was a nonsmoker. The foundation’s “Survivor at Every Game” campaign is meant to educate people about the misconception that lung cancer is only a smoker’s disease and encourage more funding for lung cancer research.

“The need for public awareness is critical, and efforts like this make a big difference,” Draft says. “Building awareness is the first step in accelerating the search for a cure.”

Friedman, who was diagnosed with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer in May 2011, has found hope through prayer and his treatment at Siteman. A gene study showed he had the EGFR mutation. Fortunately, a drug called Tarceva had been approved as a first-line treatment for lung cancer patients with the mutation. This meant Friedman’s treatment would be simpler than traditional chemotherapy and most likely more effective because the drug targets a mutation within cancer cells more accurately.

Donate Today as Team Draft’s leads a National Campaign to Changing the Face of Lung Cancer

Edward Kim, MD, Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina is Tackling Lung Cancer

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Nationally Recognized Cancer Experts Join Levine Cancer Institute
“A CANCER INSTITUTE WITHOUT WALLS.” THIS IS THE PLEDGE OF CAROLINAS HealthCare System’s (CHS) Levine Cancer Institute to the community—to bring world-class cancer care closer to home.

“The Institute is working to define the future of cancer care—where innovations in research and treatment are brought closer to home for patients to improve outcomes and quality of life,” says the Institute’s President, Derek Raghavan, MD, PhD.

While there are many integral components to building a leading cancer program, one of the key pieces is being able to offer patients access to the latest research and treatment options. To help fulfill this mission, the Institute has brought on board several nationally recognized cancer experts.

Edward S. Kim, MD

Joining the Institute from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is Edward S. Kim, MD, who will serve as chair of the Department of Solid Tumor Oncology and Investigational Therapeutics. Dr. Kim is recognized as a national leader in molecular prognostication for lung cancer and specializes in thoracic oncology and head and neck cancers. In his previous role as professor and oncologist at MD Anderson, he also served as the center’s principal investigator for Southwest Oncology Group, one of the largest of the National Cancer Institute-supported cancer clinical trials cooperative groups. Named a top physician by U.S. News & World Report, Dr. Kim received his medical degree from Northwestern University through the Honors Program in Medical Education. He completed his residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, and a medical oncology fellowship at MD Anderson.

Donate Today as Team Draft’s leads a National Campaign to Changing the Face of Lung Cancer

Edward Kim, MD, Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.

Team Draft Co-founder Chris Draft Sits Down With CNN’S Don Lemon

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Joe Melcher of Patterson California shared his late wife, Sandy, of 32 years battled Staged 4 lung cancer for 17 months.

Frank Halden of Craftsbury Vermont shared “I saw your story on CNN this evening. I would like to congratulate you for your effort. I too lost my wife to lung cancer almost 10 years ago and since then I have been working to help find a cure. Please go to my web site and take a look. This is a team effort and I thank you for your participation. Please go Keep up the great work.”

Jim Capristo of Tunkhannock Pennsylvania shared “Sir just saw your interview on CNN sat 11-17-12. My wife Cindy passed away December 25, 2008 at 5.30am. I helped her lead the fight. I took her to Sloan Kettering the best cancer treatment center in the north. With lung cancer being the slowest painful death, lung cancer sucks. It took my wife. Yes, she smoked like a chimney. She did it her way and would not hear it any other way. We were together almost 12 years. God bless you Chris and all who suffer with this terrible sickness which does not care who you are how, much money you have or you’re age as well as the families who deal with this terrible sickness too.”

Alan Rader of Dauphin Pennsylvania stated “I’m writing to you Chris because I am so inspired with your story. I was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer in June, 2009. It was inoperable due to its location and the involvement with my spine at the T1 vertebra. I was treated with the newest forms of highly targeted radiation and the heavy hitters of chemotherapy. The tumor shrunk, died and became a chunk of scar tissue that remains. I go back to the treatment center for periodic scans, blood work and visits with all the team members who took part in this successful journey. Living with the threat of a recurrence and adjusting to the new normal over these past 3-1/2 years has not always been a walk in the park. I have found great solace in meeting other survivors with all sorts of cancers and have a particular affinity with my fellow lung cancer survivors. I have become friends with many and know the pain of losing people we have all befriended. I know that they are all still among us and will remain in our hearts forever. I have and continue to feel every emotion that accompanies this type of diagnoses. True joy is always available in the company of all those who have been affected by this most wicked killer. Lung cancer changed my life dramatically and now I know it has been for the better. I am proud to be able to join you Chris in all your efforts to raise awareness and funding for research to help find answers for all those who suffer now and will in the future. Every survivor’s story is very important to hear and I admire your ability to use your platform to further this cause. I am sorry for the loss of your beautiful wife and am inspired by your efforts to make sure her loss in the end will benefit many.”

C.R. Evans of Malaoff Texas shared “I have been cancer free for 8 years, 6 months and 15 days! Every day is a new day and a new life. To be told you have lung cancer is about the worst thing that can happen yet I am a survivor.”

Lois Girt of Anderson Indiana stated “After having surgery for colorectal cancer in 2007 in 2008 I was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. I started chemo and stayed on chemo until May of this year when my doctor suggested I try this new radio surgery. It is a machine that is able to concentrate radiation doses on the tumor while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. I had five treatments that lasted for one hour each time. I am now in remission. I was listening to CNN and heard your story. I took the treatment at St. Vincent Cancer Center Indianapolis.”

Tricia & Serafino Giambattista of Niagara Falls New York shared “We just watched you on CNN and I am so happy you are standing up for your wife and all Lung Cancer Survivors!” Tricia also stated her husband is a stage 4 Adenocarcinoma Lung Cancer Survivor which was diagnosed on 7/1/11. After 6 rounds of chemo his tumors shrunk 80%. He was then able to have radiation after 30 days. They have been fundraising for Relay For Life for 6 years. This year they had a Prayer Vigil for Lung Cancer Survivors at Church and held a workout fundraiser for Lung Cancer and presented the money at the Breath of Life Celebrate at Roswell Park Cancer Inst. of Buffalo NY, where we go and also spoke on behalf of caretakers. That money was given for funding for early detection. We have pushed to have articles in our local paper and Serafino’s interview was on YNN and Channel 4 of Buffalo NY. Just to see you and hear your story had us in tears. We have so many people wearing pearls and white this month and our local Jeweler turn his store White for November and is teaming up with Roswell for Lung Cancer. We would love to help in any way we can. Chris, you are the Angel of Lung Cancer Survivors, Caretakers and the Angel we have been waiting for, Thank-you and God Bless.”

Rosemary Stone of Easley South Carolina shared “I am a Stage III lung cancer survivor. My sister Margie was diagnosed in 1993 and died within 8 months. My other sister Kathleen was diagnosed in 1994 and died 16 months later. Our only brother Ted, was diagnosed at autopsy, both lungs were full of cancer with metastasis throughout his body. I was diagnosed in Sept. 2008 with a lesion on my right lung and lymph node outside the lung. I have been fighting this disease in honor of my siblings and all who have died from lung cancer. I want desperately to increase the public’s awareness without judgment as to association to smoking. The lack of symptoms prior to end stage carcinoma are nearly nonexistent and the death rates speak for themselves. We must continue to get the word out. With awareness and early detection we can survive.”

Janet Maloof of Sanford North Carolina shared “In 2001 my husband was throwing me an early birthday party during the summer (my birthday is November). He had over 100 people there from my childhood on up. I was sick as a dog on my second course of antibiotics for bronchitis. The day before the NP at my Family Care Physicians office asked me to get a chest x-ray over the weekend to see if there was any pneumonia or something going on. Sunday the day after the party I went to the local hospital for the x-ray. On Tuesday, my doctor’s day off, he called and wanted David and I to stop up to see him as soon as we could that morning. That is when I received the diagnosis of Lung Cancer. On Friday I went for a biopsy (chance of having to spit my sternum to get it) I came out with just a small slice because it had spread to the lymph nodes in my neck. The surgeon explained that it was small cell lung cancer and he would let my oncologist explain the rest when I saw him on Monday. I got the news and the fact that the Mortality rate was 93%; I told the doctor I would change that. Well, it turned out it was small cell lung and lymph node which was wrapped around the pulmonary artery of my heart. This explained my consistently rising blood pressure and the discussion of blood pressure medication. My cancer was inoperable due to the wrapping of the artery and the location. I was treated with Chemo and Radiation at the same time (talk about felling like you have been run over by a bus). Several times I was hospitalized for IV therapy for different reasons. I lost my hair, which didn’t bother me, and on I went. Thanksgiving had always been at our house and I had always done all the cooking and preparation. This year they convinced me to let them do all the work (we averaged 35 people for dinner) I agreed only if I could still help somehow. Dinner was great, not that I ate, but the houseful was wonderful. I had strong family support and a husband like the rock of Gibraltar, but most of all I had been raised with and continued into adulthood with a strong belief in God. After they felt they had all the Cancer obliterated they then did radiation to my brain with each passing year causes more short term memory problems. When I reached my 5yr the doctor hugged me and said that I was not supposed to be one of the four of us treating for lung cancer at the time, but I was. I told him he was a great doctor with the most incredible staff but that the ULTIMATE PHYSICIAN (God) made the decision. Seems he wasn’t done with me yet and as it turned out I have had to help with raising my grandchildren. If I can say one thing, don’t ever give up hope. Also, talk about what is going on. I educated every visitor I had about my disease and the treatment. Today as soon as I hear someone has Cancer I give the person who told me my personal business card to be passed on to the patient and tell them if they want to talk call me. It is now 11 years and I was so happy to see this on CNN tonight and find out there was a group out there. These past two weeks I have been talking to my friends about researching how to start something for Lung Cancer.”

A Survivor at Every Game: The Washington Redskins Support The Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer During Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Sunday, November 18th, 2012


I am Colonel Jeffrey E. Smith and I retired from the United States Air Force as the Commander, Defense Contract Management Agency of Chicago on 30 June 2006, after 26 years of distinguished military service. Upon my retirement I was given a clean bill of health and was looking forward to this new chapter of my life. I was thrilled with the prospect of spending more time with my wife and three sons. My wife and I had planned the places we intended to visit, the time we would spend with our sons and grandchildren and opening up the next chapter of our lives. We eagerly anticipated the change after I had spent so much of my time away from my family throughout my career.

Then without any warning and just one year after I had left the military, things went horribly wrong. Of course, at first I had no idea of the signs I was being given. I had developed a cough that would not go away. Finally, I decided to seek medical attention. This still did not reveal anything which caused worry. The doctor prescribed antibiotics and we both thought that would be the end of it. Of course, the antibiotics did not work and I returned to the doctor’s office. My primary care physician then told me that sometime a stronger antibiotic was required. I was not alarmed and proceed to fill and take the new medication. After the second set of antibiotics did not work, the doctor sent me for an x-ray. This showed an abnormality and I was referred to a specialist. The specialist ordered a full set of tests. My evaluation included CT scan, PET scan, MRI, and end bronchial examination of my airways. After a month of test and biopsies, I was told I had lung cancer. How could this be, I had NEVER smoked in my entire life and I constantly counseled others to stop smoking. I exercised regularly and took pride in the fact that I beat many of the younger airmen on the base during the 1.5 mile run. I was conscientious to eat a healthy diet and get a physical when required. How, could I be facing a diagnosis of lung cancer?

At the age of 50, with the support of my family, I began chemotherapy for the treatment of stage IV lung cancer. Stage IV, the highest stage, has a prognosis of 8 to 10 months. At the time, I did not know this and was informed by the doctor that I could only expect to live another 2 to 3 pursing treatment. I was told the chemotherapy would be as bad as or worse than the disease. At best, it would only to help ease my symptoms and at worst it would make me feel even worse with no benefit. In short, I was told there was no hope and I needed to get my affairs in order.

My desire for life, my love for my family and my faith would not allow me to accept this prognosis. I decided to pursue chemotherapy. The chemotherapy consisted of carboplatin, paclitaxel and bevacizumab. The drugs left me exhausted, nauseated and stole my energy. After six weeks I had my first CT scan, and the results showed that the cancer was responding. Responding in such a manner that the doctor said only occurred with about 10% of patients. I began to feel encouraged and started to believe I might be able to beat this. This fight lasted for only a short 6 months. I grew more fatigued and my toes turned black and my fingernails begin to slough off. I was told the chemotherapy was no longer working and there were no standard drugs the doctor could prescribe. The doctor recommended that I explore a clinical trial and suggested I should seek treatment at Walter Reed. This advice was one of the many blessings I have enjoyed over the course of my treatment.

While this first door had closed, my family and my faith helped to sustain me. After my evaluation at Walter Reed, I knew I was with the right medical team. They began to discuss further testing of my tumor and that they would manage my disease in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health. The team is at the forefront of cancer research. More importantly, in my mind, they know that the patient requires more than care of the disease. The doctors, nurses and administrative staff provide a level of care that lets you know they care about you as an individual. Care for your spirit is every bit as important as care for your body!

A key change occurred about a year into my treatment. My tumor underwent molecular testing. Now, my treatment could be tailored to my particular disease. I was no longer given chemo that indiscriminately just attacked any cell. My chemo was now carefully selected based on the characteristics of the cancer Jeff Smith is battling. This testing showed that my tumor was overexpressing a protein, HER2/neu. This protein was first discovered in breast cancer and the discoveries in breast cancer have allowed my physicians to continue to target this protein in the treatment of my cancer. I have been on several chemotherapies over the years and remain on chemotherapy today, but my therapy is always targeted. I have been treated at both Walter Reed and the NIH participating in clinical trials and in just getting what Walter Reed calls the standard of care, although I am aware that there is nothing standard about this care. Today, we celebrate surviving lung cancer. I am a veteran and a 5-year survivor of metastatic lung cancer.

Team Draft was kind enough to send me to see my hometown team, the Washington Redskins. I was able to celebrate this day with my oncologist from Walter Reed, Dr. Corey A. Carter. We had a wonderful day and I hope my story can bring hope to others.

Donate Today as Team Draft’s leads a National Campaign to Changing the Face of Lung Cancer

Mary Hendrix is Shining a Light on Lung Cancer

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Only a few weeks ago, Turner Field was packed to its maximum 53,000-seat capacity as Atlanta Braves fans bade goodbye to their beloved third baseman, Chipper Jones.

On Tuesday evening, Nov. 13, the lights were on at Turner Field, but the seats were empty. The ballpark was bare to signify the number of people – 53,000 Americans– who, in the next four months alone, will lose their chances of ever sitting in those seats because they will die of lung cancer.

The event, called Shine a Light on Lung Cancer, was sponsored by the Lung Cancer Alliance, a national advocacy group. In fact, the group backs legislation – and encourages you to do so, too – that would reduce by half the number of lung cancer deaths in the U.S. by 2020.

Lung cancer is the nation’s number one cancer killer, killing more men than prostate, colorectal and pancreatic cancers combined. It also is the number one cancer killer of women, killing more women than breast, cervical and ovarian cancers combined.

While all cancers faced stigma for decades, lung cancer advocates believe that stigma still continues to work against their cause today. They understand the reason – tobacco usage, which accounts for a large majority of new cases of lung cancer.

But as survivor Mary Hendrix, who is being treated at Winship, said, “the face of lung cancer should not be a cigarette. The face of lung cancer is people here in this room, mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers, and people who never smoked.”

Hendrix explained that she is one of a growing number of Baby Boomers who smoked in their youth, quit and never gave it a second thought – until a routine exam decades later revealed a grape-sized tumor in her right lung.

There are tens of thousands of new cases of lung cancer like Hendrix’s each year.

“Do we deserve this disease just because we made a bad choice decades ago?” Hendrix said.

Suresh Ramalingam, affectionately known throughout Winship as “Dr. Ram,” gave a hopeful, inspiring talk to the group.

Since 2009, the Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium, of which he and Winship’s world-renowned lung cancer investigator are co-leaders, have made major strides in unlocking lung cancer’s secrets.

At different sites across the country, the LCMC collected specimens from more than 1,000 patients with lung adenocarcinoma and discovered that in 65 percent of them, “you can actually find a switch to turn that cancer off.”

That’s far from a cure, Dr. Ram explained, as cancer often finagles a way to turn the switch back on. But the point is that striking progress is being made. Dr. Ram also mentioned that when the first text on lung cancer was written more than a century ago, approximately 300 cases of lung cancer were documented worldwide.

“There is no reason we can’t turn back the clock 200 years,” Dr. Ram said. Of the empty seats in the stadium behind him, Dr. Ram said: “I can actually look at these seats and see faces of my patients.

Respond and Donate Today  as Team Draft leads a National Campaign to Changing the Face of Lung Cancer

Dan Friedman is Changing the Face of Lung Cancer

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Dan Friedman was 43 in late 2010 when he began to feel a little short of breath while exercising. It was fall, and he enjoyed working out often, at the gym four or five days a week. But the crisper weather had him running outdoors alongside his wife of 20 years. He was enjoying life, enjoying being a husband, and a father of three.
Since Dan appeared so healthy, and is a non-smoker, doctors assumed he had a case of exercise-induced asthma. It was early 2011 when more tests were ordered. Eventually a CT scan showed some abnormalities in his lungs, and most alarming, a large amount of fluid around his heart and lungs.
Dan was told to go to the hospital immediately. And by the end of the week, the first week of May 2011, it seemed the diagnosis was more clear: a surgeon said he believed it was probably lung cancer, and if it was cancer, it was bad. A biopsy was scheduled and within a few days confirmed that it was Non-Small Cell Stage Four Adenocarcinoma of the lungs. Dan, a non-smoker who appeared healthy and lived a healthy lifestyle, had cancer in both lungs, all throughout, and surrounding the lungs and heart.
Meeting with Dr. Ramaswamy Govindan at Siteman Cancer Center, St. Louis, put Dan and his family’s minds at ease. Despite a frightening diagnosis, they offered hope in some newer treatments for late stage lung cancer.
As Dan’s family and friends prayed, his cancer cells were being studied more closely. A gene study of his cells showed that he had the EGFR mutation. This very specific mutation was the answer to some very specific prayers. A drug called Tarceva had recently been approved as a first line treatment for lung cancer patients with this mutation, and this meant Dan’s treatment would be simpler than traditional chemotherapy, and most likely more effective, since the drug targets a mutation within the cancer cell more accurately.

Dan’s cancer receded by more than 90 percent just 5 or so weeks after he began treatment with Tarceva. Dan and his family, his wife, children, are so grateful for this reversal and the health and happy times it has brought. Dan’s treatment has included a pill a day, so he and his family were able to serve on a mission trip to Ecuador, take vacations, visit their son in the Air Force, and live life easily even with a stage four lung cancer diagnosis. They are so thankful doctors at Siteman knew to do this test, to see if Dan had this mutation. And so thankful for the answered prayers that he did.

Dan’s treatment now includes chemotherapy in addition to Tarceva to head off some minor progression, which was expected after a period of time. But a new biopsy was ordered, and a new gene study is being conducted to look for additional clues as to how his cancer has changed. So, additional prayers are being said, and he and his family are hopeful. And thankful….for amazing doctors and staff, researchers, caring friends and family, and a God who is bigger than cancer.

 Respond and Donate Today as Team Draft’s leads a National Campaign to Changing the Face of Lung Cancer

A Survivor at Every Game: The Atlanta Falcons Support The Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer During Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Tuesday, August 2, 2005, at the age of 40 years and in seemingly excellent health, an evening commuter came crashing into my SUV. I quickly phoned 911. Within moments there were lights and sirens coming from every direction. The paramedics gently placed me onto a straight board and took me to the local hospital where I underwent a variety of tests to verify the extent of my injuries. By the time the tests were completed the ER room I had been assigned to was filled with my family and our family doctor, Dr. Ayisha Gani. After a few hours of x-rays and tests the ER doctor told me he had “…good news and bad news”. He went on to say with surprise, “The good news is that there are no injuries, no fractures, nothing whatsoever as a result of the car accident.” Everyone was relieved, for a moment. “The bad news is there is something in your lower right lobe the size of my fist; we need to do some tests…” Dr. Gani, my personal physician explained to me that she was admitting me for additional tests which would more than likely involve a biopsy the following day.

The next day I had a biopsy performed and remained in the hospital while other family members made their way to Georgia. It was Thursday afternoon that Dr. Gani came to my hospital room with all of my family in the room and told me the news and said, “The biopsy results are in; there is a tumor growing in the lower right lobe; it has to come out right away, you have lung cancer.” I was shocked to hear this and asked if this was accurate. I asked her how this could have happened. Me? I never smoked and neither did my parents. How could I get lung cancer? I was then told it was the fastest growing type of cancer cell, Adenocarcenoma. I had lung cancer. I never smoked and neither did my parents.

Later that evening my three sons were brought to my hospital room. They were 12, 14 & 16 years old at the time. I proceeded to remind them of the phrase they had heard throughout their life, “God works in mysterious ways”. As I reminded them of this phrase I repeated for them the sequences e of events that had played out over the past two days. I wanted to protect them from any unknown fears that the word “cancer” is typically associated with. They understood that surgery would be required and that the accident was one of “God’s mysterious ways” of letting me know there was something wrong inside me.

Two weeks later, at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Dr. John E. Moore performed the 14-hour surgery that would save my life. Dr. Moore removed the orange sized tumor from the middle and lower lobe of my right lung and 31 of my lymph nodes. At the time I was staged as “1b” but several years later a second pathology report indicated that I was actually at Stage III due to activity in a lymph node. After 8 weeks of recovering from major surgery Dr. Moore installed a mediport which was the method of receiving 12 weekly treatments of chemotherapy (taxol & carboplatin) under the care of Dr. Thomas Seay of Atlanta Cancer Care. As of 12.30.05, my last chemo treatment, I have had no other cancer related issues. I continue to be closely monitored and screened.

I am a miracle. If it had not been for the auto accident I would not have known about the tumor in my lung. The cancer would more than likely have spread which would have been “too late” for treatment and I would have died in the spring of 2006. I am so blessed!

Join Team Draft’s National Campaign Respond and Donate Today as we Change the Face of Lung Cancer!

A Survivor at Every Game: The Oakland Raiders Support Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer During Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Jim Conwell, 71, would never have known he had lung cancer if weren’t for his wife suggesting he get screened for exposure to Agent Orange at the local Veteran’s Administration health facility. It was then, in 2010, that the Vietnam veteran learned he had lung cancer. A VA physician told him he would need his chest opened surgically for removal of the tumors from his lung. As luck would have it, the VA surgeon assigned to his case was deployed to Afghanistan, and Conwell sought another opinion from the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. There, thoracic surgeon David Tom Cooke performed a minimally invasive surgery and successfully removed the diseased part of his lung without having to open his chest. Nearly two years later, Conwell said he feels great, and is back to writing music and enjoying his retirement with his wife, children and grandchildren. Respond and Donate Today

JIm Conwell is Tackling Lung Cancer from TEAM DRAFT on Vimeo.

A Survivor at Every Game: The Detroit Lions Support The Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer During Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Friday, November 16th, 2012

When you’ve never smoked, being told you have lung cancer comes as a shock. That was the case with Geraldine Carter two years ago when she received the devastating news – stage 4 lung cancer.

Carter had been fighting lung sarcoidosis for several years, a disease in which small patches of inflamed cells can appear on the lungs’ small air sacs, breathing tubes or lymph nodes, causing her to cough. When her coughing persisted, she naturally thought it was the sarcoidosis. Her family encouraged her to see a pulmonologist, which she did. Test results showed Carter had a tumor on her lung and the pulmonologist recommended she see a lung cancer expert.

“When I was first told I had lung cancer, I was mad,” said Carter. “I didn’t want my husband Willie see how upset I was so I would get into the shower and just cry. Then, I’d say to myself, I had my pity party and now it’s time to get on with it.”

It was Nov. 2010 when Carter first met with Shirish M. Gadgeel, M.D., leader of the Thoracic Multidisciplinary Team at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit, Michigan. Carter’s lung cancer had already spread to her lymph nodes.

“From the moment I met Dr. Gadgeel he didn’t miss a beat,” said Carter. “He never talks about how much time I have but instead focuses on me and how we’re going to treat my disease. I knew immediately he was going to do the very best for me and he continues to do that.”

Carter added, “When people hear you have lung cancer they assume you smoke and therefore you deserve your disease. I don’t smoke. Anyone can get cancer. It’s a disease, not a reflection of who you are.”

Dr. Gadgeel explained there is a stigma associated with lung cancer and not everyone who is diagnosed with this disease smokes.

“Certainly, the best thing for your health is not to smoke or be around second-hand smoke which can also increase the risk of lung cancer,” said Dr. Gadgeel.

“Many people who are diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked. Mrs. Carter doesn’t smoke and her mother who also had lung cancer didn’t smoke. We must continue to build awareness and understanding about lung cancer. Early detection saves lives and supporting cancer research will help advance new therapies to treat this disease and other cancers.”

Carter has been on different therapies since she was first diagnosed, including 20 rounds of radiation.

“It’s been difficult at times due to the impact on your body but I’m not giving up,” said Carter. “Every day is different and you need to listen to your body. I’m so grateful that my husband has been with me every step of the way, attending every appointment with me. The team at the Karmanos Cancer Center is so compassionate – they care about you and your family. They are dedicated and committed to doing all they can for each patient.”

“Mrs. Carter is a gentle soul with a strong will to live,” said Dr. Gadgeel. “I’m constantly inspired by her and all of our patients with metastasized disease who volunteer to go on clinical trials to help determine new therapies to advance cancer research. They teach us so much and their contribution to cancer research will continue to help other patients for decades to come.”

The Karmanos Cancer Center is one of 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation and one of only two in Michigan. It’s world-renown Clinical Trials Program conducts 700 different trials at any given time, offering cancer patients ground-breaking treatments that can lead to better outcomes.

Thanks to the generosity of the Detroit Lions and the Chris Draft Family Foundation’s Team Draft Changing the Face of Lung Cancer campaign, Carter, her husband Willie and her oncologist Dr. Gadgeel were invited to attend the Nov. 18 Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers game at Ford Field in Detroit. The last time Carter attended a Detroit Lions game was three years earlier, before she was she was diagnosed with lung cancer.

The sold-out crowd and close scoring game electrified the stadium. An avid sports fan, Carter said her favorite player has to be Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson. Although the Detroit Lions lost the game by just a few points, they scored big with Carter, giving her the opportunity to enjoy life and experience another exciting Detroit Lions game – with her husband and physician by her side.

Carter expressed, “Cancer does not define you. I’m still the same person I was before I was diagnosed with lung cancer and I try to not let this disease stop me from living my life.

“You have to have hope. We never know what tomorrow will bring so we need to do what we can while we’re here. We’re put on this earth not to give in, but to give out.”

Former NFL player Chris Draft is the founder, president, and CEO of the Chris Draft Family Foundation. Team Draft was created by Chris and his wife Keasha during Keasha’s year-long struggle with lung cancer. Keasha, an energetic vibrant young woman who had never smoked, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in December 2010. On November 27, 2011, standing side-by-side at their wedding, Chris and Keasha launched Team Draft. One month later, Keasha lost her courageous fight at the age of 38.

Team Draft is dedicated to raising lung cancer awareness and enhancing the importance of critical funding for lung cancer research by shattering the misconception that lung cancer is a “smoker’s disease.” Working with NFL teams and cancer centers across the country, Team Draft’s National Campaign is Changing the Face of Lung Cancer! Repond and Donate Today 

BY: Patricia Ellis

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center Marks Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Friday, November 16th, 2012

The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center will host a Tweet chat to discuss the latest approaches to lung cancer treatment on Nov. 27 at 1 p.m. in recognition of Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Twitter users are invited to log in and join the conversation about new medical, surgical and radiation oncology approaches to the disease from cancer center experts. Read More