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Cancer survivor prompts action

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http://www.wiscnews.com/bnr/news/index. ... 09&ntpid=1

By Scott De Laruelle

BARABOO - David Grant is supposed to be dead. Instead the Baraboo man is a living example of hope for lung cancer survivors - hope that recently got an added lift, with the help of Hillary Clinton and her congressional colleagues.

The scene was the Lung Cancer Alliance Advocacy Conference, held March 29 in Washington, D.C. Senators Clinton, D-NY, and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., introduced a resolution to declare lung cancer - the nation's leading cancer killer - a national public health priority, calling for a 50 percent reduction in mortality rates by 2015.

Grant said the conference was historic because it brought advocates and patients together with national legislators.

"We've opened up a lot of doors in Washington and hopefully the individual states," Grant said. "It needs to happen. I want to see very intense research into treatment of lung cancer and early detection."

Grant was the longest-living stage four cancer survivor at the conference. Stage four is the most advanced form of cancer, and Grant said he was given a life expectancy of six months when he was diagnosed more than three years ago.

Lung Cancer Alliance President Laurie Fenton said Grant was a popular person during the conference because of his experience and success fighting the disease.

"He can speak to the disease and what it's going to take to change course," Fenton said. "It's about grass-roots activism and political pressure, educating key policymakers that we've got to direct more resources to develop early detection methods."

Many misconceptions

Baraboo's Nancy Benson never thought she would end up with lung cancer. She is not a smoker and has not lived with smokers but was diagnosed with the disease about a year ago. She did not ask the doctors how long she would live.

"I don't want to know," Benson said.

Benson has undergone chemotherapy sessions and will soon try radiation treatment in an attempt to keep the cancer in a dormant state.

She said it is not fair that lung cancer has not gotten the attention is deserves.

"It's because of a smoker's image," she said. "When they think of lung cancer, they think of this old guy who has been smoking since he was 10. I want people to be more aware it's not just a smoker's disease and to see more funding for research."

According to the Lung Cancer Alliance, 2,830 Wisconsinites died of lung cancer last year, compared with 770 from breast cancer and 520 from prostate cancer. In contrast, only $1,829 is spent per lung cancer death, compared with $23,474 for each breast cancer death and $14,369 for each prostate cancer death.

Fenton said lung cancer is more of a political problem than a science problem because of the lack of survivors and negative stigma attached to lung cancer victims.

"In order to deal with this epidemic, we have to do more than tobacco control," Fenton said. "If everyone quit smoking today, lung cancer would lead cancer deaths for years to come. We need to understand why someone who never smoked before gets the disease."

Grant said lung cancer survivors and support groups are not going to give up. He said early detection of the disease is a key to survival, and a first step in beating the disease.

"Up until a few years ago, people with lung cancer were relegated to the coffin," Grant said. "We're going to bring this under control."

For information, visit the Lung Cancer Alliance at http://lungcanceralliance.org.

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Those of us long term survivors know David Grant. Recently he registered as "DaveGr"

I am glad to hear he is doing well. Glad to hear he went to Washington and spoke for us. He also has run a golf tournament in Wisconsin for fund raising and awareness for several years.

Thanks for the article.

Donna G

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Hurray for Dave. I am so glad he is doing well, and still fighting with all his might.

Dave was the first person to contact me when I joined this site 3 years ago. He lives about 2 1/2 hours from me, and we've talked a couple of times.

I know that he really had a drive and a knack for activism, and I am just so happy and proud of him for all he's done for LC awareness.

Cheers to Dave... Kickin' A$$ and takin' names for LC!!!

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