Lung cancer survivors, family members and friends gathered at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena on Sunday to “Shine a Light on Lung Cancer.” The event was part of a national campaign to raise awareness for lung cancer as well as to provide hope, support and compassion for those impacted by the disease.
“Awareness and early detection are key to fighting lung cancer, that’s why this event is so important,” said Robbin Cohen, MD, medical director for the thoracic oncology program. “Everyone who participated played a role in helping bring attention to this disease and what can be done to help save lives.”
More than 100 people attended the candlelight ceremony. In addition to Dr. Cohen, speakers included lung cancer survivors Bengt Pehrsson, MD; Caroline Maglente Foster; and Michael Lukan.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death nationally, killing more Americans than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined. While many lung cancers are related to smoking, many are not. Foster, a 5th grade teacher, never smoked and did not come from a home of smokers. “Lung cancer didn’t just affect me, but everyone I know... [including] my students,” she told the crowd. “This community of family; friends; and healthcare partners, such as Dr. Cohen and his staff...are all precious to me in my recovery.”
Lukan shared that he has continued playing his beloved saxophone throughout his illness. “Don’t think that the diagnosis is the end,” he said. “Today I have never felt better. Be sure to rely on the experience of your medical professional, and go with your gut.”
“Shine a Light on Lung Cancer” events were held in more than 125 U.S. cities this month in partnership with Lung Cancer Alliance, the only national nonprofit organization dedicated solely to providing support and advocacy for people living with or at risk for lung cancer. The Lung Cancer Program at Huntington Hospital is recognized as one of the largest and most comprehensive programs of its kind in the Los Angeles area.