Friday, September 5, 2008

Stand Up to Cancer in your own way

Many of you may have heard that there is telethon being aired tonight on all three broadcast networks to raise funds for cancer research- Stand Up to Cancer.

You don't have to donate money to make a difference in the cancer battle. You can also exercise your rights as a voter and concerned citizen.

Next week, Dan is going to visit Senator Mikulski's office (D-MD) to encourage her support of S. 3187, The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2008. This bill would encourage lung cancer research, establishment of early detection screenings & create a Congressional Oversight Board to specifically target mproving survival statistics for lung cancer.

You may be able to help him during his visit.

Many people have asked us what they can do for us over the past few months. We've been thinking about how to use our blog to not only get the support we need, but also to educate others and try to make a difference in the continued fight against cancer. But we've struggled with how to let people help us, mostly because we are doing so well at the moment. And we've struggled with how to educate without coming off preachy. But we now have the opportunity to both ask for help & further cancer research at the same time.

Many of you may not know of the bleak statistics associated with lung cancer, which makes our fight that more difficult:

- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the US in every ethnic group... 1 in every 3 cancer deaths
- Over 160,000 Americans will die this year alone from lung cancer. It will kill more than three times as many men as prostate cancer and nearly twice as many women as breast cancer
- Most people with lung cancer are diagnosed to late that they die within the first year

- Most people attribute lung cancer to smokers. However, all patients are stigmatized whether they smoked or not
- Over 60% of new patients are former smokers or people who never smoked at all
- 15% of people who get lung cancer have never smoked, like Dan or our friend Oliver
- One in five women being diagnosed now with lung cancer have never smoked

Despite these statistics, lung cancer research receives only 5% of cancer research dollars.

We need help raising awareness about lung cancer and elevating it to the proper levels so people like Dan or maybe even someone like me will have the best chance of beating the disease. It's not a disease that affects heavy smokers. It affects non-smokers, those who quite decades ago & those who never thought they fit the definition of a smoker.

And according to the medical definition, there is no such thing as a social smoker. A non-smoker is considered someone who has smoked 100 cigarettes or less. For those of us that used to enjoy a cigarette with our beers, those smokes add up pretty quickly. I am now worried that these decisions will come back to haunt me and many people like me who weren't fully educated.

Why isn't there more focus on lung cancer? Most assume it's because people bring the disease on themselves because they smoke. That is the reaction I get 100% of the time when I tell people what type of cancer Dan has- did he smoke? Simply not true.

And why aren't more people speaking out about lung cancer? Because most people who contract the disease die within the first year. There are no survivors to hold walks & events, only the loved ones left behind after cancer rips their world apart.

So when Dan goes to the Senator's office to meet with her staff next week, I am going to give him a letter to take with him. I want her to support this legislation, and any legislation that will end cancer for everyone. I want her to know about our life and why we need to focus more research dollars on lung cancer- so Dan can be here for a long time & we can prevent others from ever having to see the things we've seen.

This is where you can help. If you're a Maryland resident & would like to write a letter for Dan to deliver to Senator Mikulski, please email me at and I will give you the form letter and our address.

I hope we can give Dan at least 10 letters. It's a small start, but it's important to raise this issue to our lawmakers. Many of them need more education with respect to lung cancer. And you help won't cost you more than 10 minutes of your time.

For more information on S. 3187, The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2008 visit
the Lung Cancer Alliance at


Kris Lowther said...

Hey Guys...great idea for the legislative visits. If this is a federal law being proposed, please send me the form letter and I can send it to the legislators from PA for support, as can others in their perspective states. The more support we get for things like this, the better for lung cancer research funding! Good luck with your visit!


hughesd2000 said...

Hey guys,
That's a lot of good information and important statistics for everyone to know. It is sad that there isn't much funding and policy making with regard to lung cancer because of the stigma it holds. For those of us not from Maryland is there anything we can do (write our own senators,etc.) to support or push this legislation through. Just let us know! Hope you both are doing well.

robert waeger said...

I know Arlen Spector's son and will contact him to get the Senators personal e-mail address so I can send him this blog etc, along with requesting his support.
Love DAD

Anonymous said...

Dan just told me about your idea for taking letters with you- brilliant. NCCS might be stealing that idea...

Don't forget to take the weekend off from cancer. It's a rule.


Kay Cofrancesco said...

Here is the link to send the form letter to Senators, no matter what state you are living in.

Allison in NY said...

I sent a letter to Hillary Clinton today urging her support. She is on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions which is reviewing the bill. I will ask some other NY friends to do the same. Good luck with your visit Dan!


Bob said...

Dan & Meg,
Linday and I watched most of the Stand Up to Cancer segment on TV. (we tried to call you guys, but the phone went to a busy signal). There was an interesting segment on Lung Cancer (too short!) from a Doctor in Boston doing that can check the strain through analyzing your blood and therefore put a treatment plan in place based on what is shown in your blood. Have you heard of this? (i am sure it is more complicated and only a trial, but regardless, i thought it was pretty cutting edge).

Should we write a letter? I got the feeling it was only for Maryland residents. Maybe Doctor D will write you a nice letter?
it woudl be pretty sweet to get about 10 high ranking CEO's of big companiesin MD to write something and 10 everyday people.. the CEO of Johns Hopkins, Under Armour, an Embassy official, the head football coach of univ. MD, your President of McDaniel, Doctor D, President of a big Pharma comaany.. (you get the idea..)

I am excited b/c football season is here and i love to sit and watch College football all saturday.

Make it a great day,

Bobby & Linday