Test May Aid Lung Cancer Survival

A Duke University discovery regarding lung cancer will be put to a trial through a genetic test.

In most cases lung cancer is a death sentence but a recent revelation at the school may save lives when it comes to lung tumors.

Starting this fall U.S. and Canadian doctors will use the molecular fingerprint to select patients who need extra treatment. If added treatments work, fewer cancers may recur and more people may live, they say.

“This is breaking into a new frontier,” said Dr. David Harpole, a Duke surgeon who will run the 1,000-patient clinical trial, said in a press release. “Instead of giving everyone the same treatment, we want to individualize.”

Lung cancer, the deadliest form of cancer in the U.S., killed more than 5,000 North Carolinians last year. Most of the 174,000 people diagnosed nationally yearly develop non-small cell cancer from smoking cigarettes and 85 percent die according to statistics.

Duke intends to patent the test if successful.

The American Cancer Society this year named 73 ambassadors to represent local communities across North Texas at Celebration on the Hill 2006.

Chelsea Magby of Keller, TX, is one of the ambassadors.

“My dad lost his battle with lung cancer in 2003,” she said. “I have picked up the sword and am fighting for him now. I believe there is no need for other daughters to lose their best friend. With education, prevention, and cessation programs I know we can put an end to lung cancer caused by smoking. My dad tried to quit – he knew the risksâÂ?¦but as a teen and young adult he couldn’t fully know the final cost. From time lost to rising costs, cancer eats away at the health of our nation.”

As the advocacy chair at the local Relay for Life of the American Cancer Society, Magby talks with survivors and caregivers about speaking up and out to their community and legislators about funding and laws that fight cancer in all its forms.

“I want to make a difference – to help find a cure for cancer, give precious time to moms and dads, sons and daughters, and to be an example in volunteerism for my daughter to follow,” said Magby.

Julie Johncox of Fort Worth, an ambassador with the American Cancer Society, is one of the reps who will attend the nationwide event in Washington, D.C. Sept. 19-20 to engage members of Congress in the fight against cancer. During the event ambassadors will meet with lawmakers to demand that Congress make cancer a national priority by boosting the federal commitment to cancer research and programs. Celebration promotes cancer survivorship and empowers Society volunteers to become a powerful force in the fight against cancer.

“I have experience in the legislative process and enjoy working with the state, local, and federal leaders that have the power to change and influence legislation to support and fund cancer research and other related issues,” she said. “It is important to maintain a good working relationship with our elected officials and educate them along the way rather than waiting until an issue is at hand. Our lawmakers have the authority to make the decisions that affect our lives. We need to remember how important one vote can be.”

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