Kentucky survivors discuss the impact their lung cancer diagnosis has had on their lives and how the stigma that surrounds the disease negatively impacts overall survival. There is a great need to educate the public that anyone can get lung cancer, regardless of smoking history. Radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer in never smokers and is the #2 cause of lung cancer overall, second only to smoking. The only way to help reduce the stigma is to educate the public of the varied causes and help our citizens understand that #anyonewithlungs can get lung cancer. This is a statewide issue that must be addressed. It’s time to erase blame and shame with conversations and action geared towards compassion and a cure for all!
Thanks to a $35,000 grant from Lilly Oncology, Breath of Hope Kentucky was able to collaborate with the EGFR Resisters patient and caregiver group to create 5 downloadable educational materials about the EFGR mutation and a welcome video for all newly diagnosed patients to view and learn more about this community. We are thankful and proud of this project that helped create a centralized location where patients and their loved ones can be educated about this diagnosis of EGFR positive lung cancer. The initial news can be so overwhelming and patients often have no idea where to turn to seek all the guidance and information they may need or want to know about their disease. To learn more about EGFR Resisters and these materials visit EGFR Positive Lung Cancer Resisters Advocacy Group (egfrcancer.org)
In October, 2021, we met a new survivor from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Brittany, who asked us if we had ever seen a t-shirt with the hashtag, anyonewithlungs. She, like so many others we know, was diagnosed with lung cancer and had no previously known risk factors for getting the disease. She was just 38 years old when she was diagnosed! When we realized there was not a shirt like she was looking for to be found, we set out to create our own version. Four of us survivors put our heads together to decide on a look we felt both men and women with lung cancer, and their family members, might like wearing. We sold shirts during the month of November and raised over $4,000 that we donated to mutation-driven lung cancer research. Any survivor with a genetic mutation knows their future depends on advancements in research and precision medicine to fight this disease. There are thousands of lung cancer survivors diagnosed every year in the U.S. who have mutations that are driving damaged cells in their lungs to turn into cancer. Some of these lung cancer mutations include EGFR, ALK, RET, ROS1, KRAS, BRAF, MET, and TP53. Much more research is needed to develop more treatment options for those who develop lung cancer as a result of a mutation.