Bang the Drum for Lung Cancer Awareness
Not only does Liz Dols fall into the 10-15% of lung cancer patients who have never smoked, she is only 30 years old with an active lifestyle running, biking, and skiing. She describes her disbelief in the ABC local news article as never knowing non-smokers could get lung cancer. Liz finds the lack of attention and research for lung cancer very frustrating, and shares her story as a way to bang the drum for more awareness. Currently she is taking a new drug, Crizotinib, which has kept her cancer from getting worse and allowed her to get back to running.
Who else is banging the drum for lung cancer awareness? Submit your story on the discussion board!
I, too, have been in disbelief about getting lung cancer. Getting the primary thyroid cancer, okay, that was a crap shoot, that seemed to hit various people randomly. But LUNG CANCER?!!! How?!! Why?!! I’m 64. I’m a life-long non-smoker. Up until the last few years when I started feeling really crappy, I hiked the Himalayas, ran several times a week, up and down stairs all day, ran a business and raised 11 children. HOW HOW HOW!!!. There was NO cancer whatsoever in my family for the past THREE generations on both sides. So HOW do I get not one but TWO different primary cancers (and they’re still debating on a third – a lesion at C-7).
What I have started doing now is REALLY outside of my previous comfort zone. Almost every bill collector who calls now gets my, “And the reason I haven’t been able to keep up with the payments is because….AND I’m a life-long non-smoker….AND it’s the fastest growing cancer among women… AND…” I now tell most people I meet.
If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. I also add the caveat to those whom I know smoke, “Both my parents were chain smokers. My mother smoked during her pregnancies. It was the thing to do then. But the doctors are hanging out the possibility that this was caused by second-hand smoke.” We don’t know for sure, of course. And I’m NOT mad at my parents about this. I’m too old for that. They did what was popular, just like people today do what’s popular, not knowing that they may be hurting someone.
But, yes, I DO bang the drum.
My husband is in similar situation. 65, non-smoker, healthy and strong his entire life until he got bladder cancer June of 2012 and recurrence in Nov. 2012. By Feb. was experiencing bad headaches and started losing weight. After several months learned he had high blood pressure. Once that was resolved with 3 medications he continued to lose weight and had loss of energy. August 2013 a chest CT revealed multiple large cavitary lesions in both lungs. The pulmonary Dr. was ‘shocked’ at what he saw on the scan as opposed to the relatively healthy person he met face to face. I keep thinking that it is all related somehow but doctors say no. Currently has gone through one cycle of chemo (Cisplatin/Gemzar) as surgery and radiation are not options due to the size of the tumors. Will have follow-up CT after second round of chemo to determine if it is helping. Scary and so hard to watch my husband of almost 45 years go through this!!