Young woman, a non-smoker, fights lung cancer

November 3, 2010 2:31:26 PM PDT
Liz Dols, 30, of West Chester, Pennsylvania has always lived life to its fullest. She's an avid runner, a biker and a skier.

"Every winter I skied as much as is humanly possible," she said. But when she noticed a pain in her chest and a cough that wouldn't go away, she knew something was wrong.

After several trips to doctor she was finally sent for a chest X-ray. It showed a mass and surgery revealed it was lung cancer.

Dols said, "I couldn't believe it. I didn't know that young people got lung cancer, I didn't know that non-smokers get lung cancer."

But Liz represents a growing trend: 10 to 15-percent of lung cancer patients are non-smokers. Out of those patients two-thirds are women.

Liz had surgery and doctors had to remove two lobes of her right lung. She also had chemotherapy and radiation. Unfortunately, her cancer has come back twice in four years.

She says it's frustrating that lung cancer awareness and research lags behind other cancers. "The problem with lung cancer is so many of us are diagnosed so late in our disease we're not around long enough to bang the drums and raise awareness," she said.

So Liz is sharing her story and will be running in a race Sunday to raise funds for research. After all that's what lead to the new drug she's now taking. It's called Crizotinib and is part of a clinical trial. It's helping to keep her cancer from getting worse and helping her get back to living.

"That's all I'm trying to do is keep moving forward a little bit at a time."

Liz said it despite the stigma, it doesn't matter if you smoke or not, people should know lung cancer is bad for anyone who gets it. If you'd like to help, you can join the fight against lung cancer and join Liz and Action News' Nydia Han this Sunday, November 7th at the "Free to Breathe 5K Run/Walk.

It starts at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. Registration starts at 7:00 a.m. and the race starts at 8:30 a.m. Fees are $35 for adults. $15 for kids.

For more information, visit: www.freetobreathe.com

On Saturday there is another walk supporting lung cancer awareness and research. It is the 7th Annual Heather Saler Lung Cancer Walk. It will be held Saturday, November 6th, at the Jack Curtis Stadium in Cooper River Park in Pennsauken, N.J.

Registration starts at 9:00 a.m. The 5K walk begins at 10:00am. Fees are $25 for adults while children under 12 are free.

For more information on this walk, visit: www.lungevity.com


Load Comments