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Kari P., IN

In December of 2006, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Of course 13 years ago it was a death sentence with not many options except chemo and radiation. She did 3-4 months of chemo and a round of radiation then decided that she was too sick to continue. She wanted to live the life she had left not in the hospital and not sick. She travelled and then brain metastasis moved in.

She lost her battle in October 2007, she was 60. She left behind 7 grandchildren under the age of 16 and 3 children. Her mother also died of lung cancer. Her niece also died a month before her at the age of 30! It has to be genetic?

I haven since been involved with advocacy and also started a new journey from being an LPN 26 years to going back to get my MPH so I can get more involved with lung cancer advocacy and research. My loved ones deserved to have as much treatment and options as other cancers back then, but we will work on that now. As a nurse I have seen the cases rise and it's alarming. I believe we need to take the focus off of smoking and focus on radon and other environmental issues because I believe smoking rates are down and non smokers with lung cancer are up?

The lung cancer world has made progress but it is now the leading cause of cancer deaths in women. I want to be a voice and hopefully not a statistic. I'm fighting for my mother, grandmother and cousin, and also my patients and families. Lung cancer does not discriminate and anyone with lungs can get lung cancer, which is all of us. Stop the stigma and focus on more research and cures.

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