Caring for Yourself and Caring for Others During a Disaster/Epidemic

Watch the presentation on Vimeo by Susan Hedlund, LCSW, OSW-c, FAOSW
Director – Patient and Family Services
Senior Scholar – Center for Ethics, OHSU

 Read the New USPSTF Lung Cancer Screening Recommendations here!

The Caring Ambassadors Program provides this website to help you and your loved ones
understand your disease and some of the health care options available to you.

Our three main methods to fight lung cancer are to Empower patients and providers with access to free educational materials, and resources; to Educate communities about the importance of screening and to share current information with patients and their families; and to Advocate for access to screening and treatment for lung cancer for all communities. Knowledge empowers you to ask the necessary questions to become your own best advocate. When your questions have been asked and answered, you and your health care providers will be in the best possible situation to determine the best treatment approach for you.

Learn More about lung cancer question builder

Lung Cancer Choices 5th Edition can be a useful tool for anyone who is caring for someone with lung cancer, but its primary focus is on the patient. This book is suitable for both the newly diagnosed and those who have been living with lung cancer for some time.

Joint Statement on COVID-19 From Lung Cancer Advocacy Groups.  Our knowledge about how the virus affects our immune systems and other organs is continuously evolving. Along with this knowledge, doctors are becoming better at managing patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. 

MY CHOICES© is a tool to help you recognize and act upon what you can control in your health care journey to achieve optimal healing, regardless of the illness you face. It contains elements of a guide book, health planner, journal, and activity book to help orient you to and plan for the journey ahead.

Medical Writers’ Circle. The Caring Ambassadors Lung Cancer Medical Writers’ Circle provides information to help you and your loved ones make informed decisions about your health and are written by experts in the field of lung cancer from throughout the Country.

Help Open People’s Eyes. Would you be so kind as to share a snippet about your lung cancer experience with us? There is no right way to share – talk, write, draw, speak poetry – just please SHARE. Email us: MyStory@CaringAmbassadors.org

Weekly News Update. Caring Ambassadors Program provides 3 weekly news updates covering Lung Cancer News, Hepatitis C News, and My Choices© Update. Receive them delivered weekly to your inbox.

Meet Robin Sharf, through cancer and COVID-19, Robin strives to see the silver linings and does her best to live well each day with gratitude and appriecation. Read Robin’s empowering story today.

Weekly News Update

Lung Cancer News
Week Ending September 20, 2021

Immunotherapy Offers Certain Patients With Small Cell Lung Cancer A ‘Ray of Hope’, Expert Says
“Recent developments in immunotherapy treatment have given patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer something to have faith in, according to an expert from City of Hope.”

A study from Italy suggests that patients diagnosed with lung cancer after the start of the “COVID-19 pandemic received treatment more quickly than did patients who were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019.Study Reveals Shorter Time to Lung Cancer Treatment During COVID-19 Pandemic”
Trastuzumab Deruxtecan Yields Robust Antitumor Responses in HER2+ NSCLC
“Patients with HER2-mutated non–small cell lung cancer derived robust and long-lasting responses from fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki.”

Imfinzi plus chemotherapy tripled patient survival at three years in the CASPIAN Phase III trial in extensive-stage small cell lung cancer
“LONDON, UK I September 18, 2021 I Updated results from the CASPIAN Phase III trial showed AstraZeneca’s Imfinzi (durvalumab) in combination with a choice of chemotherapies, etoposide plus either carboplatin or cisplatin, demonstrated a sustained, clinically meaningful overall survival (OS) benefit at three years for adults with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC) treated in the 1st-line setting.”

Yale Cancer Center Study Shows New Drug Combinations Improve Outcomes for Patients with Advanced Lung Cancer
“New findings from a large study led by researchers at Yale Cancer Center shows the addition of the drugs oleclumab or monalizumab to durvalumab improved progression-free survival for patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The data is part of the COAST trial and will be presented on September 17, 2021 at the annual meeting of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO).”

ALK+ Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
“Final results from a phase 3 trial showed that brigatinib continued to improve progression-free survival (PFS) compared with crizotinib in patients with advanced, ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)”

Takeda wins FDA approval for targeted lung cancer drug
“Japanese drugmaker Takeda said Wednesday it’s received Food and Drug Administration approval for the first oral therapy targeting a specific gene mutation in non-small cell lung cancer patients.”

My Choices© Update
Week Ending September 20, 2021

Can flavonoids help fend off forgetfulness?
“The foundation of a healthy diet is a vibrant rainbow of fruits and vegetables, like rosy red strawberries, dark green spinach leaves, or sunny yellow peppers. Their colors often come from flavonoids, powerful plant chemicals (phytochemicals) that appear to contribute to many aspects of health. And now a large Harvard study published online in Neurology in July suggests that flavonoids may also play a role in protecting cognition.”

How To Keep a Food Journal: Instructions and Tips
“Whether you’re looking to lose weight, improve your diet, or simply understand your eating habits a little better, keeping a food journal can be incredibly beneficial.”

8 Caribbean Cultural Foods for Combatting Inflammation
“Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury and infection. However, chronic inflammation — which may be influenced by diet, inadequate sleep, and high stress levels — is linked to overweight and obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.”

Fast Fiber Facts: What Is It and How to Get Enough
“According to data curated by the Department of Agriculture, only about 5% of Americans consume their daily recommended allowance of fiber. And that’s unfortunate, because fiber plays a big role in many aspects of health.”

How to Tell If the Health and Nutrition Information You’re Reading Online is Actually True
“With so much misinformation out there around COVID-19 and vaccinations, in addition to health and wellness information in general, it’s more important than ever to make sure what you’re reading is actually true and credible. There are six ways to tell if the nutrition and health information you’re reading online is trustworthy.”

Health & Wellness: Have you considered complementary or alternative health care?
“Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a broad term for many health care treatments and medicines not generally used by the traditional medical community. Complementary or Integrative therapies are applied in tandem with traditional western medicine whereas alternative therapies are adopted in place of the traditional.”

7 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health, According to Experts
“When your gut is feeling great, you never think about it—but when it isn’t, it’s hard to think about anything else. The group of microorganisms that live in and make up your gastrointestinal tract plays a role in almost every aspect of your health from preventing chronic illnesses to keeping your immune system humming. So it’s no wonder that when it’s out of whack, you feel lousy.”

Nourishdoc Brings Top Integrative Practitioners For Educational Sessions For Balancing Hormones
“NourishDoc, the first 360-degree technology platform connecting wellness seekers and top holistic practitioners, announced today that it will start offering educational programs for chronic conditions. Integrative practitioners, professors, and researchers share their years of expertise in easy-to-understand informational sessions for natural remedies that can help heal millions around the world during these difficult times.”

What Are Botanicals, and What Can They Do for Your Health?
“Walk into a supplement store, and you’re bound to see dozens of products with nature-inspired labels boasting ingredients called “botanicals.”

One Major Side Effect of Not Drinking Tea, Says Science
“Tea is consumed across the globe, at all times of the day. Some people have it in the morning instead of coffee, some enjoy tea time in the afternoon, and others love drinking tea before bed.”

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Smokers disrespected for early COVID-19 vaccine access in TNT editorial – Cindy Langhorne-Hatfield

Re: “Washington smokers now get vaccine priority. Our gut doesn’t approve; our head does,” (TNT, 4/8).

This News Tribune editorial smacks of the condemnation of millions of Americans. Your editorial board’s condescending words lack decent respect for human beings based on having used tobacco, a legal, addictive substance.

Although you tried playing both sides of the issue, the indignation for people with a history of smoking was not well disguised.

Access to the COVID-19 vaccine for people with a history of smoking was only given days before the entire population became eligible. Two days before your editorial was published, President Biden instructed all states to make the vaccine available to all adults within two weeks.

Yet, you were offended that someone who had the audacity to put a cigarette between their lips should be allowed access to a life-saving vaccine.

You asked, “Why should someone who won’t kick a self-destructive habit have an edge over someone who makes good lifestyle decisions?”

Would you be so insensitive to people with other so-called “habits”? Do people who don’t exercise often enough deserve to live? What about someone who eats Snickers? Big Macs? How about someone who uses other addictive drugs? (Nicotine is powerfully addictive.)

Your viewpoint is reminiscent of arguments used against people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, in the early stages of that disease. They brought the disease upon themselves was the outcry from uninformed and unenlightened people.

Thanks to AIDS advocates, society looked deeper and became more compassionate to that cause. Similar accusations haunt people diagnosed with lung cancer, regardless of their smoking history.

As Americans, we care about the vulnerable and understand that inherited and environmental influences in a person’s life may contribute to them being susceptible to diseases or addictions. We are evolving as a society to learn how to offer help to people addicted to illegal substances and prescription drugs.

Again, as Americans, we also believe in the power of redemption and overcoming hardships. We all have faced and overcome new challenges, especially considering how this pandemic has impacted each of us in one way or another.

A loved one gone. A job lost. Relationship vanished. Dreams quashed.

The impact of this pandemic has hit everyone — even those “who won’t kick a self-destructive habit.” Your editorial regards people with a history of smoking as less than deserving of a vaccine.

Sadly, your perspective is not unique. Unfortunately, when it comes to tobacco use, our society has lost its compassionate way.

The unintended consequences of antismoking public service announcement campaigns is that we transitioned from condemning the act of smoking to condemning the people who smoke.

Rather than condemning tobacco users, a better way of addressing the issue of tobacco use is with compassion, as we do with other addictions and diseases.

A compassionate, practical response to this population group is encouraging them to get vaccinated. Because, as your editorial correctly pointed out, they are at significantly higher risk for having complications or dying from the virus.

Offering encouragement — instead of condemnation — also could help them overcome tobacco addiction so they can go on to live a long, healthy life.

The concept is simple: Turn on the light instead of cursing the darkness.

Cindy Langhorne-Hatfield of Lakewood is lung cancer program director for the Caring Ambassadors Program, Inc., and co-leader of the Lung Cancer Action Network (LungCAN). Reach her by email at Cindy@CaringAmbassadors.org

You can read Cindy’s article online here: https://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/article251021409.html
You can read the article this is in response to here:
Washington smokers now get vaccine priority. Our gut doesn’t approve; our head does

ASCO 2021

Prevent Cancer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Prevent Cancer Foundation® and more than 300 organizations from all 50 states applaud Representative Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who are leading the effort to modernize Medicare and ensure seniors have access to breakthrough cancer screening technology. Today, Representative Sewell introduced the Medicare Multi-Cancer Screening Coverage Act of 2021 joined by her colleagues Representatives Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.).

This year, 600,000 people will die of cancer in the United States. That’s 1,700 each day. Ongoing clinical trials demonstrate that a new category of cancer screenings can detect many deadly cancers in earlier stages. This technology, called multi-cancer early detection (MCED), uses a blood test and our vast understanding of the human genome to help patients and their health care providers find cancer early, before it has spread to other parts of the body. Research shows that with early detection, nearly nine of every 10 cancer patients will live five years or longer. Without it, only 21% live five years or longer.

“The imperative for access to multi-cancer early detection tests could not be more clear,” said Carolyn R. (“Bo”) Aldigé, Founder and CEO of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. “We face an epidemic of delayed cancer diagnosis and underdiagnosis in this country.  We are on the precipice of a major scientific advance that may be our best chance to dramatically lower the number of cancer deaths and save the lives of loved ones who, today, are often diagnosed when it’s simply too late for them to receive effective care. We are grateful that more than 300 organizations, representing every state in the U.S., join us in urging Congress to pass this legislation.”

National advocacy organizations who support the legislation include the American Cancer Society – Cancer Action Network, the National Minority Quality Forum, Cancer Support Community, the Association of Community Cancer Centers, the Community Oncology Alliance and the Oncology Nursing Society. A diverse array of additional medical, community and public health focused organizations across the country joins with the Prevent Cancer Foundation in applauding the introduction of the Medicare Multi-Cancer Screening Coverage Act of 2021 and calling for action on this issue. These organizations provide essential services to cancer patients, offer resources to families, and raise awareness of the need to improve prevention and care for a range of different cancers.

“We are grateful to Rep. Sewell and her colleagues who have come together on an issue that will impact so many Americans,” said Ramona Graffeo, Executive Director of the Laura Crandall Brown Foundation in Alabama. “Finding cancer early, before it has spread to other parts of the body, increases the likelihood treatment will be successful, lowers the cost of treatment and improves quality of life for patients and their caregivers. The reintroduction of this critical legislation is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to alter the course of cancer care for seniors.”

Join the conversation at #EarlyDetection. Read the full letter and view the list of signers.

About the Prevent Cancer Foundation

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is celebrating 35 years as the only U.S. nonprofit organization focused solely on saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection.  Through research, education, outreach and advocacy, we have helped countless people avoid a cancer diagnosis or detect their cancer early enough to be successfully treated.

The Foundation is rising to meet the challenge of reducing cancer deaths by 40% by 2035. To achieve this, we are committed to investing $20 million for innovative technologies to detect cancer early and advance multi-cancer screening, $10 million to expand cancer screening and vaccination access to medically underserved communities, and $10 million to educate the public about screening and vaccination options.

For more information, please visit www.preventcancer.org.”

New Lung Cancer Screening Recommendations

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults aged 50 to 80 years who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Screening should be discontinued once a person has not smoked for 15 years or develops a health problem that substantially limits life expectancy or the ability or willingness to have curative lung surgery. Read the entire recommendation here.

Ask your doctor about getting screened today! It just might save your life.

What are the symptoms of lung cancer?

According to American Lung Association,

“Many people with lung cancer don’t have symptoms until the disease is in its later stages. Because there are very few nerve endings in the lungs, a tumor could grow without causing pain or discomfort. When symptoms are present, they are different in each person, but may include:

  • A cough that doesn’t go away and gets worse over time
  • Hoarseness
  • Constant chest pain
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Frequent lung infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Coughing up blood

Some symptoms of lung cancer may not seem related to the lungs or breathing. These symptoms can still be a sign of lung cancer because lung cancer usually does not cause symptoms in its earlier stages. This means some symptoms do not appear until the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Some of these symptoms may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Bone pain or fractures
  • Blood clots

Some people, unfortunately, go misdiagnosed for a long time because their symptoms are similar to other diagnoses such as pneumonia, allergies or a cold. If you feel that something is wrong, be persistent with your doctor. You know your body best and being persistent could save your life.”

American Cancer Society Facts & Figures 2018

Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. If the
spread is not controlled, it can result in death. Although the reason why the disease develops remains unknown
for many cancers, particularly those that occur during childhood, there are many known cancer causes,
including lifestyle factors, such as tobacco use and excess body weight, and non-modifiable factors, such as
inherited genetic mutations, hormones, and immune conditions. These risk factors may act simultaneously or
in sequence to initiate and/or promote cancer growth.

 

Read the full report here

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