LCA lobbies for lung cancer funding, awareness

21 Mar 2008 by under Organizations, People

Operating under the tagline “No More Excuses. No More Lung Cancer,” the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA), a relatively new organization based in Washington, D.C., is working to remove the sigma from lung cancer and secure significant funding to fight the deadliest form of cancer.

Chairman Coady’s story

coady.thumbnail LCA lobbies for lung cancer funding, awareness Leading the charge for the organization is Rear Admiral Phil Coady, U.S. (Ret.), who serves as chairman of the board of directors. A career Navy officer, Coady was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in early 2005. He underwent surgery to remove the affected lobe and went through chemotherapy. In late 2005, the cancer recurred with metasteses to his bones. Chemotherapy has been successful in slowing the advance of the cancer for the past two years, and Coady is fighting for other lung cancer survivors.

Although Coady doesn’t suffer from mesothelioma, he is very much aware of the risks posed by . His work during his time in the Navy very often put him in contact with the substance, he said, and seven of his friends died from mesothelioma since his retirement.

In addition, for 10 years following his retirement, Coady worked as president of the Navy Mutual Aid Association, a non-profit veterans benefit group and life insurance service, where he saw what he thought was a disproportionate amount of lung cancer deaths.

He notes that shipboard service in the Navy, particularly during the years he served, routinely involved exposure to asbestos, second hand smoke and other possible carcinogens. Veterans also were at risk from exposure to chemicals such as Agent Orange, sulfur mustard gas, and other battlefield combustion products.

“I had heavy exposure to asbestos in the Navy,” he says. “I spent a lot of my time as an engineer on ships. In the 1960s there were no precautions about asbestos that I recall at all. We tore out asbestos with hand tools. A dust mask might have been our most aggressive protection.”

With a family history of pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic scarring of the lungs, Coady always had his asbestos exposure in the back of his mind in relation to his health, and had regular CT scans to check for the disease, which he did eventually develop as a result of his exposure. Then, in 2005, the scans also showed lung cancer.

“Ironically, it was really my concern about asbestos that probably saved my life,” Coady said, crediting his regular screenings with catching his cancer early.

Next: The stigma of lung cancer

Comments are closed.