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LC article in our local paper today


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The following article was in our local newpaper today on the front page

http://www.courierpostonline.com/news/s ... 81005c.htm

Nonsmoking women face lung cancer risk

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Courier-Post Staff

The announcement Tuesday that Christopher Reeve's widow, Dana, has lung cancer is calling attention to a small but growing population of female nonsmokers diagnosed with the disease.

In announcing her diagnosis, Dana Reeve said she is looking to her husband "as the ultimate example of defying the odds with strength, courage and hope."

"I hope before too long to be sharing news of my good health and recovery," said Reeve, who won worldwide admiration for the steadfast support of her husband during his nine years as a quadriplegic. He died last year.

Dana Reeve, the 44-year-old actress and chairwoman of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, is a nonsmoker, said foundation spokeswoman Maggie Goldberg.

Her announcement came two days after the lung cancer death of ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, a smoker, at age 67.

The foundation would not comment on the extent of Reeve's cancer or whether it is restricting her activities. Reeve said it was diagnosed recently and is being treated.

Reeve visited South Jersey in June, speaking at a Mount Laurel fundraiser to support paralysis research.

"It's not fair that she has to deal with another obstacle," said Chris Miles, head of Miles Technologies in Moorestown, which hosted the fundraiser. "But she's been well-trained in dealing with obstacles. If you can look at anything on the bright side, it would be that."ADVERTISEMENT - CLICK TO ENLARGE OR VISIT WEBSITE

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Miles described Reeve as a "graceful, strong, talented person."

"We'll hope the treatments work very well and she'll be part of the good statistics for those who survive lung cancer," he said.

Smoking causes 87 percent of lung cancer cases, according to the American Lung Association.

"It's something that hasn't been quantified in terms of numbers, but oncologists are definitely noticing an increase of lung cancer cases among nonsmoking women," said Dr. James Stevenson, an oncologist and co-director of the Comprehensive Lung Cancer Division at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey at Cooper University Hospital.

Dr. Mika Sovak, a lung cancer specialist with The Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, said recent studies have found a particular cell mutation occurs more frequently in nonsmokers with lung cancer than in smokers with the disease. The mutation takes place in the epidermal growth factor receptor, which sits on the surface of the lungs.

"The people who tend to get EGFR mutations are women," Sovak said. "Unfortunately, we don't really know why they get them and it doesn't appear to be genetic, at least not yet."


The Associated Press and staff writer Jim Walsh contributed to this report. Reach Shawn Rhea at (856) 486-2475 or srhea@courierpostonline.com.

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