Linda Pernell is looking forward to her 55th high school reunion this summer in southern Oregon, maybe more so than the average person.
After being diagnosed with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), she wasn’t sure how much time she had left.
“I’ve been through a lot and I feel like a different person,” Linda says, recalling the last several years—the physical toll of the cancer and the desperate search for an accurate diagnosis. Read more.
There’s a saying in the lung cancer community: If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer.
It happened to Anne Gallagher, a patient navigator at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute, and according to the American Lung Association, there are more than 400,000 Americans living today who have been diagnosed with lung cancer.
But there is hope, says Anne, who recently returned from this year’s LUNGevity Hope Summit in Arlington, Virginia.
The national gathering, which is held each year in May—Lung Cancer HOPE Month—provides support for survivors, caregivers and advocates and is an opportunity to give voice to their experiences. It’s also a chance for survivors to engage in educational sessions on topics like research, immunotherapy, living with lung cancer, nutrition, and becoming an empowered advocate.
“Five years ago, I attended my first Hope Summit and there were 40 people there,” Anne says. “This year, there were around 300.” Read more.
Cancer treatment has significantly changed over the last five years, largely due to research that has produced targeted therapies and immunotherapies, which are directly benefiting patients at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute.
Targeted therapies are drugs designed to interfere with specific molecules that tumors need to grow, while the therapies do little damage to normal cells.
“It’s treatment that is unique to an individual patient,” says Dr. Jeff Sharman, director of research at WVCI. ”For example, you could have five individuals with breast cancer, they might have five different individual characteristics that drive the disease. In many cases, we now have tools to identify those drivers and turn them off.” Read more.
When Bob Petit gazes through his camera lens, he sees wonder and beauty. Calling himself a “serious amateur,” his love of photography has grown over the years. Yet, not even with the clearest of lenses, could Bob have seen his cancer diagnosis coming.
“I had a feeling something was wrong, because I was sleeping 14 hours a day,” Bob says. “But I didn’t think about cancer.” Read more.
One of the first questions typically asked by patients diagnosed with cancer is, “How serious is it?”
Your oncologist can't predict the future, but he or she can make an estimate based on other people's experiences with the same type of cancer. This is referred to as a prognosis. Read more.