New treatment brings hope for lung cancer research

November 1, 2011 3:10:31 PM PDT
November is lung cancer awareness month. It is the deadliest of all cancers and yet it is the least funded.

Lung cancer kills more than 150,000 people a year.

Two years ago, it took the life of my mother. She was 67-years-old and never smoked.

That's why this week, I'm doing a series of special reports on the disease.

Today, we look at a promising new treatment.

Liz Dols has always been an avid runner, skier and bicyclist. She's a lifelong athlete who never smoked.

"I just started feeling really crummy. I would cough all the time. I had pain in my chest," said Dols.

An x-ray showed a mass in her right lung. Surgery confirmed it was lung cancer, stage 3 Adenocarcinoma.

That was 5 years ago when Liz was just 26-years old.

"It's just unfathomable," she said, thinking back to the diagnosis.

Dols had surgery, underwent chemotherapy and radiation, but twice her cancer returned.

Then last year, she entered a clinical trial for a new drug called Crizotinib.. The drug targets a genetic mutation in some lung cancers and can dramatically shrink tumors.

"We're not talking about minor regression we're actually talking about at least 40 to 50 percent shrinkage," said Dr. Corey Langer of the Abramson Cancer Center.

The drug just won FDA approval and Dols just celebrated her 5th anniversary of living with lung cancer.

"I feel better now, being on this drug a year and a half then I felt since I was 25. It's amazing. It's amazing to feel normal again," said Dols.

That's why it's so important to raise money for research.

I hope you'll join Dols and I, Nov. 6 at the Free to Breathe Lung Cancer 5k Run and 1k Walk. Proceeds will benefit the Pennsylvania Lung Cancer Partnership.

More information is below and on my Facebook page. We hope you'll support our teams or put together your own.

Links: Free To Breathe
Pennsylvania Lung Cancer Partnership
8th Annual Heather Saler Lung Cancer Walk


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