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Tears (of joy!!!!) are Streaming Right Now **Update 11/14


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I have been putting this off, because I didn't want to be faced with the reality again, but I am proud to say I have written my letter to the editor. Thanks to those of you who posted facts, links, and previous letters. I have begged, borrowed, and stole whatever I could. Below is my letter. With love, you all....

On March 16, 2006, my life, and the lives of all in my family, changed forever. My dad, yes a former smoker, was diagnosed with Small Cell Lung Cancer.

SCLC has its reputation as being one of the deadliest cancers that exists, because of the speed in which it grows, and the late onset of symptoms of any kind. Our initial search led us to believe that without treatment, my dad could live between 2 and 4 months.

Nothing can devastate a family more than hearing these words. We had been strapped into a roller-coaster that we hadn’t chosen to ride, and we could never get off.

Dad began treatment, under the supervision of amazing physicians, beginning with chemotherapy and moving to radiation, all of which took his hair, his strength, his dignity, and any sense of normal he may have found since his retirement only a few years ago. On July 30, with hearts pounding, tears streaming, and love abundant, our family was given the words that Dad’s cancer had reached remission. Though we were still strapped to the rollercoaster, we thanked God for this amazing gift.

Following brain radiation, intended to prevent possible metastases, where dad was strapped to a table by a mask screwed tightly around his face, we now await a follow-up appointment. Nearing the end of November, we are reminded of the roller-coaster ride. Cancer can return. No one deserves this. No one deserves cancer.

In October, we found ourselves surrounded in pink, supporting, informing, and learning about one of the most devastating diseases that exists, breast cancer. Because of this tremendous support, breast cancer survival rates have climbed amazingly and treatment options continue to expand.

Another group of people need our help. November is Lung Cancer awareness month. It might surprise you to learn that lung cancer will claim more lives this year than breast cancer. In fact it will claim more lives this year than breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and pancreatic cancers, COMBINED.

According to LUNGevity, a foundation dedicated exclusively to funding lung cancer research, in 2006, an estimated 174,470 people will be newly diagnosed with lung cancer, and an estimated 162,460 people will die of lung cancer.

There is no question that millions of lung cancer patients have died because of smoking, and perhaps society doesn’t want to contribute to a cause like lung cancer because it believes it to be merely a “smoker’s disease. However, according to the Lung Cancer Alliance, over 50 percent of the people now being diagnosed with lung cancer are non-smokers or former smokers.

Though lung cancer claims the lives of 85 percent of newly diagnosed patients within five years, the survival rates for lung cancer have stayed roughly the same since the Nixon administration. Clearly, something needs to change. The stigma of smoking is still so great that lung cancer is under-funded, under-researched, and often ignored by Congress and the general public. We need help to fight this killer disease.


t the end of November, my dad’s follow-up appointment will check for cancer recurrence or spread, and he will be assessed about the side affects he may have from his treatments. His remission status makes him fall into the 20 % of people who survive this disease after one year. When he reaches the five year mark, the magic date I pray for every day, my dad will be one of only 6 % who reach this milestone, a cure.

Please support the fight against this disease. Donate to organizations like the Lung Cancer Alliance (www.lungcancer.org), LUNGevity (www.lungevity.org), or The Lung Cancer Support Community (www.lchelp.org). Write to government officials. Do what you can. Together we can fight this devastating disease.

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