COLUMBUS, Ohio — National Lung Cancer Awareness Day was in August, but for people who are recently diagnosed or in treatment, the disease is a daily reality. But new treatments and research are changing the statistics and giving hope to those who hear the words, "You have lung cancer."
CDC research shows that 10 to 20% of lung cancers in the United States happen in people who never smoked or smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. That's about 20,000 to 40,000 lung cancers each year.
Dr. Sydney Barned, a doctor of internal medicine and a hospitalist at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Maryland, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2017. She credits clinical trials for her current health.
"I've never been a smoker. And I think that that really is what made it so important to have research because I was able to know what my biomarker was. And because of that, I started targeted therapy. And I've been able to be, you know, no evidence of disease for the past five years," Barned said.
The Lung Cancer Foundation of America is urging people who are recently diagnosed, especially African Americans, to advocate for themselves in treatment plans, and to consider clinical trials and biomarker testing, which determines what makes a cancer cell unique and treatable with targeted therapies.