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Nov-06-2013 12:40printcomments

Shine a Light on Lung Cancer

Nobody can breathe easy while the disease of lung cancer continues to strike our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, neighbors and friends.

Lung cancer

(SALEM) - I am writing you today to inform you of this wonderful event we have created, progress we are making locally, after my mother-in-law passed away from a terrible disease. She was 50 years old and two weeks away from meeting her first grandson when she passed. She was overlooked by her doctor for months before they finally found her cancer. I ask that you please read my letter and help spread the information.

If asked what cancer is the leading cause of death among men and women today, the likely response from most women would be breast cancer. The likely response from most men would be prostate cancer. Yet the real answer is lung cancer – and it is and will continue to be the leading cause of cancer death among men and women today, tomorrow and for decades to come. Why is this extraordinary and devastating fact not known? Because lung cancer is the most stigmatized, misunderstood and ignored cancer of all.

While it may be easy for society to blame lung cancer on smoking, the reality today is that 80% of new lung cancer cases inflict people who either have never smoked or have quit smoking – most decades ago. It is taking more lives each year than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers – combined. And lung cancer has a very low 5-year survival rate of only 15%. Nobody deserves lung cancer, whatever the cause, and we must do more to combat this devastating disease.

Success lies in approaching lung cancer comprehensively – just as we do other major illness. Prevention and wellness coupled with early detection and treatment options must be adequately funded and coordinated. Isn’t that how we approach heart disease? Breast cancer? HIV/AIDS? Why should lung cancer be held to a different standard?

Fortunately, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and congressional representatives have recognized that lung cancer can no longer be ignored and have developed national legislation called the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act.

I traveled to Washington, D.C. January of 2011 to meet with our congressional leaders along with Lung Cancer Alliance. We presented the Act and the most recent statistics to show them that it is time something is put in place. I am so happy to report that we have successfully passed the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act into legislation.

Last November, Salem Cancer Institute, Lung Cancer Alliance and I held the third annual Shine a Light on Lung Cancer Vigil in Oregon. We introduced the first lung cancer screening program in Oregon. It has diagnosed two patients early enough to be treated.

This November, I am again working with Salem Cancer Institute and Lung Cancer Alliance to host the fourth annual Shine a Light on Lung Cancer Vigil in Salem. Everett Mozell, MD, will discuss new lung cancer screening guidelines, benefits and risks of screening and protecting you and your loves ones with primary prevention. It will be located at Salem Hospital campus in the Courtyard at 530 p.m. Bud Pierce, MD, will discuss the latest lung cancer treatments, symptom and side effect management and maintaining a high quality of life immediately to follow at 630 p.m. in building D on the first floor.

Nobody can breathe easy while the disease of lung cancer continues to strike our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, neighbors and friends. Please help us spread the word about our event. We want to continue to educate and expand the screening program.

Thank you,

Stephanie Lindgren

You can write to Stephanie Lingren at



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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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