Posts Tagged ‘LCA’

LCA Chairman Coady has died

1 Jul 2008 by under News, People

coady 150x150 LCA Chairman Coady has diedI was very sad today to learn that Rear Admiral Phil Coady, U.S. Navy (Ret.) passed away yesterday, June 30. Admiral Coady served as Chairman of the Board for the Lung Cancer Alliance, and was kind enough to share his story with this blog in April. A non-smoker, Coady was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in 2005. The diagnosis spurred him to advocacy, particularly on behalf of Veterans.

Although Coady didn’t suffer from mesothelioma, he was very much aware of the risks posed by asbestos. 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 said he saw what he thought was a disproportionate amount of lung cancer deaths.

When he began investigating lung cancer research efforts, Adm. Coady was shocked at the relatively few dollars spent by the Veterans Administration and the , considering the number of veterans affected by the disease. He also was disappointed at the overall lack of funding for lung cancer research in comparison to spending on other cancers, especially since lung cancer is the leading cancer killer.

He dedicated himself as Chairman of the Board for the Lung Cancer Alliance, fighting the battle for lung cancer awareness and funding under the organization’s motto “No More Excuses. No More Lung Cancer.” He led efforts in lobbying Congress to make lung cancer a national health priority.

Just last week, Coady saw some of the first fruits of his efforts, when Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate creating and authorizing at least $75 million for lung cancer research. This is the first ever multi-agency, comprehensive program targeted at reducing lung cancer mortality.

Perhaps the best memoriam Adm. Coady could receive is for supporters of lung cancer awareness and research to contact their U.S. Senators NOW and ask them to add their support to S. 3187, the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act. Remember him and take action for those to come after him! You can view his obituary here.

Blessings to Adm. Coady’s family at this time of loss.

Atkinson conquers U.S. Open course

16 Jun 2008 by under Events, News, People

I hope everyone had the chance to watch John Atkinson play the U.S. Open golf course at Torrey Pines, California, as part of a celebrity foursome with NBC Today Show anchor Matt Lauer, Cowboy player Tony Romo and entertainer Justin Timberlake. The event was broadcast on NBC Sports on Sunday, Father’s Day.

I’ve posted about John several times on this site. He was selected by the readers of Golf Digest magazine to participate in this first-ever celebrity foursome event. Diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, John used the event as a chance to raise awareness about lung cancer and to inspire those with the diagnosis to keep meeting the challenges of everyday life, and taking advantage of life’s unique opportunities.

This morning, Matt Lauer interviewed John and his brother, Kevin, who caddied for his big brother on the last hole in an emotional show of support. Watch the video at

In addition to this video, the Lung Cancer Alliance has the first part of what will be a multi-part documentary about John’s battle against Lung Cancer up on its site. John is a spokesperson for the organization. Watch the first episode at the LCA web site.

John has made it his mission to raise awareness about lung cancer, with the hopes of increasing funding for research and treatment. His campaign gives hope to everyone who battles lung cancer in its many forms, including those fighting , which affects the lining of the lungs. Thank you, John, for your willingness to go that extra mile!

Complicated path for veterans with mesothelioma

14 May 2008 by under Legal, News

navy logo Complicated path for veterans with mesotheliomaThe prevalence of asbestos, especially through the mid-1970s, has put millions of Americans at risk for mesothelioma, a painful, usually lethal cancer almost always related to asbestos exposure. Among the hardest hit are U.S. veterans who were exposed occupationally, especially in Navy ships and shipyards.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are currently 25 million living individuals who have served in the United States’ armed forces. It is believed that a great number of them were exposed to toxic asbestos-containing materials during military service.

Every ship and shipyard built by the Navy before the mid-70s was fitted with numerous asbestos-containing materials. These materials were extensively used in engine and boiler rooms and other areas below deck for fire safety purposes, as well as in other areas of the ship. In fact, virtually no portion of a naval ship was asbestos-free between the 1930s and mid-1970s.

Unfortunately, veterans have little recourse when diagnosed with mesothelioma they believe to be the result of asbestos exposure during their time of service. Because asbestos use was so widespread before the first bans in the 1970s, it is very difficult for veterans to prove that asbestos exposure occurred only in military service.

Veterans are not legally allowed to seek compensation for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases from the U.S. government through the court system. Ailing veterans must file a claim against the asbestos manufacturer, and they also have the legal option to seek assistance through The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The VA is a government-run benefit system that is responsible for administering benefit programs to veterans, their families, and survivors. It is an incredibly complex system that comprises the second-largest federal department, after the Department of Defense. A search of the organization’s web site turns up no information about asbestos or mesothelioma. However, there are some organizations, such as Veterans Assistance Network (, that can help veterans wade through the VA benefits system.

Lung cancer is usually an indolent cancer that takes years to develop, thus the burden of treatment is falling most heavily on the VA. Late stage lung cancer is twice as costly to treat as early stage.

In February the Lung Cancer Alliance () announced that for the second year in row a coalition of top veteran organizations is calling for a screening program for veterans at high risk of lung cancer, to be included in the Independent Budget for Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09). This highly regarded comprehensive alternative budget addresses the most urgent needs of veterans, and urges Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs to initiate a $3 million pilot screening program for veterans at high risk.

The AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Veterans of Foreign wars are the four co-authors of this document. More than 50 organizations support the Independent Budget.

A research program carried out by the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program at 40 centers in 26 states and 6 foreign countries during the past 13 years indicates that CT screening can detect lung cancer at Stage 1 in 85 percent of cases, and those treated immediately had a 10-year survival rate of 92 percent. By partnering with these types of programs, the could quickly implement a pilot screening program for veterans at high risk, with a broad geographic reach and significant cost savings.

Rear Admiral Philip J. Coady, USN, (Ret.), chairman of LCA’s Board of Directors said, “Lung cancer continues to kill more men and women every year than all the other major cancers – breast, prostate, and colon – combined, and our veterans are at even higher risk, especially those whose active duty service exposed them to Agent Orange, asbestos, spent nuclear fuels, propellant gases and other carcinogens.”

Admiral Coady, a 34-year Navy veteran who never smoked, was diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago.

“Because there are usually no specific symptoms, most people are diagnosed so late they die within a year,” he pointed out. “Yet advanced CT technology that can diagnose lung cancer at its earliest, most curable stage is available right now, and high-risk veterans not benefiting from this is wrong,” he said.


Lung cancer advocate Atkinson U.S. Open pledge

13 May 2008 by under Events

atkinson2 150x150 Lung cancer advocate Atkinson U.S. Open pledgeLast week I helped spread the word that Lung Cancer Alliance advocate John Atkinson has been selected by Golf Digest magazine to play the U.S. Open golf course, on Father’s Day, June 15, as part of a celebrity foursome with NBC Today Show’s Matt Lauer, entertainer Justin Timberlake, and NFL star Tony Romo. He plans to use the opportunity to advocate for lung cancer and research. NBC Sports will broadcast the celebrity event from 2-3 p.m. ET, where John hopes to break 100 on the tough Torrey Pines course.

John was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer a little more than a year ago at age 38. He was selected from among 56,000 people who entered a contest sponsored by Golf Digest, the United States Golf Association and NBC Sports to play the U.S. Open Course as part of the celebrity team. You can read more of his inspiring story at Golf Digest online.

In addition to raising awareness, John and the Lung Cancer Alliance would like to use this event as an opportunity to raise funds for lung cancer research. They are encouraging people to make a donation or pledge to LCA in John’s honor. There’s even a great idea for a “game day” event, where lung cancer awareness supporters can collect pledges and host a pledge party with family and friends. John is urging donors to consider doubling their pledge amount if he breaks 100!

Visit the Lung Cancer Alliance U.S. Open pledge page for donation information, pledge party forms, and links for help and more information.

What a GREAT opportunity to raise the profile of lung cancer awareness, and communicate to America – and beyond – what an important issue this is for national health! Watch for John in the coming weeks, as he is scheduled to appear on national news programs like , The Today Show and The Tonight Show. I’ll try to update when his appearances are scheduled.

Compassionate Communications for the sick

2 May 2008 by under Events, News, Organizations

Amy Peterson of the Lung Cancer Alliance posted to the LCA message board / support group on yesterday to let cancer survivors know about a new program that aims to provide hope and cheer during a difficult time. The LCA is partnering with Compassionate Communications, a company dedicated to connecting people in need of support and encouragement with people who want to reach out to them.

Compassionate Communications will operate a web site, which will be launched sometime this month, that will feature photos and information about people struggling with cancer, including mesothelioma, and other life-threatening illnesses. Visitors to the site can view profiles, and if they choose to register (for a fee of $25), they will receive five greeting cards with pre-paid postage, to send to patients to encourage them, and other support materials. Twenty-five percent of the registration fee will benefit patient-serving organizations.

There is no charge for a patient to register his or her profile. The program operates in cooperation with Hallmark Business Expressions (a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, Inc.).

Patients may download an “opt-in” registration form and waiver directly from the web site, or call 888-337-6416. The waiver must be completed and returned by mail or fax to Compassionate Communications, which will then provide participants with an account so they can set up their personal profile on the site. There is a place on the waiver form for patients to designate the patient-assistance organization they would like card-sender registration fees to benefit.

You may also get more information or ask questions by emailing Amy at the Alliance at

Ask Clinton about funding lung cancer research

11 Apr 2008 by under Events, News, Organizations, People

victims, unite! The Lung Cancer Alliance recently sent an Open Letter to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton following remarks she made pledging funding for breast cancer, asking her to also prioritize funding for lung cancer.

Following is the text of the open letter, along with information about how to contact Clinton’s office. The LCA is urging everyone affected by lung cancer, including mesothelioma, to join their voices in this effort to finally secure the funding that lung cancer has long deserved. It is time to make this a national priority!

An Open Letter to Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton

April 9, 2008

Yesterday you announced what you would do for breast cancer should you be elected president. When will you announce what you would do for lung cancer?

The $300 million plan you unveiled yesterday to find a cure for breast cancer should be at least doubled for lung cancer since it is killing nearly twice as many women each year as breast cancer. Most women do not even know this.

You do, Senator Clinton, and you specifically cited that fact as part of the justification for Senate Resolution 87, which you co-sponsored and supported and which was passed August 2, 2007. The resolution was a strongly worded policy statement by the Senate calling on the President to declare lung cancer a public health priority and to implement a comprehensive interagency program to reduce lung cancer by 50% by 2015.

The Resolution contains a page and a half of the grim statistics justifying the demand for priority action and specifically notes the enormous under funding of lung cancer research, which receives only seven cents for every federal dollar spent on breast cancer.

Of course we would like to see a cure for breast cancer as we would for all cancers. Thanks to the billions in federal dollars alone that have been invested in breast cancer research and early detection, the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer is now 88%.

Having been massively under-funded, as the resolution notes, lung cancer’s 5-year survival rate is still only 15%. That will no longer be tolerated.

We are not asking for a cure at this point. Just a 50% reduction in the mortality rate for lung cancer, the most lethal cancer, which is now killing more men and women each year than breast, prostate, colon, kidney, melanoma and liver cancers combined.

One in five women being diagnosed with lung cancer now have never smoked at all and they seem to be getting diagnosed younger. Why aren’t women demanding more research? Because they do not know the facts.

You spell out the facts so eloquently in S. Res. 87 and you lay out in the resolution a comprehensive program for lung cancer that is actually quite similar to the one you proposed yesterday for breast cancer.

When will you announce your comprehensive plan for lung cancer? We thank you and look forward to hearing from you on behalf of all those with and at risk for lung cancer, their families, caregivers and friends.

Lung Cancer Alliance

To contact Clinton’s office:

Hillary Clinton General Campaign Headquarters

4420 North Fairfax Drive

Arlington, VA 22203

Ph: 703.469.2008

Fax: 703.962.8600

LCA lobbies – Part 3 – Personal Assistance

27 Mar 2008 by under Organizations, People

Personal assistance to those with lung cancer

In addition to its lobbying efforts, the other main focus of the Lung Cancer Alliance is to provide care and counseling to patients diagnosed with lung cancer. A big part of this is to help patients find clinical trials for new medications.

“Right now, there are only about three, maybe four, drugs that are approved for treating lung cancer,” explains Rear Admiral Phil Coady, U.S. (Ret.), chairman of the board for the LCA. “Once you get past that, you’re on your own and there’s nothing else.”

The next step can be participation in a clinical trial testing new cancer-fighting drugs. The LCA has a screening process to help patients find a trial that fits their situation.

“It’s bewildering trying to figure out what’s a good trial for you and what you’re eligible for,” Coady said. “We ask patients questions about their progression, what they are willing to do, where they live, lots of other questions, and then we can process that information against a database of ongoing clinical trials and match a patient to where they are a good fit. It gives them another avenue to try something else, to keep hoping.”

They also provide patient support services like the Phone Buddy program, a peer-to-peer support network for people with lung cancer and their family members and caregivers, as well as an online forum where lung cancer survivors and their families can network with other people who are struggling with the illness.

Finally, LCA strives simply to raise awareness about lung cancer, and to promote early screening.

“Our goal is to save lives. Simple as that,” Coady said.

For more information about LCA and its programs, visit or call the Lung Cancer Information Line at 800-298-2436. Tap into the LCA Survivors Community online at Call the Phone Buddy program at 800-298-2436.

LCA lobbies – Part 2 – the stigma of lung cancer

25 Mar 2008 by under Organizations, People

The stigma of

coady1.thumbnail LCA lobbies   Part 2   the stigma of lung cancerRear Admiral Phil Coady, U.S. Navy (Ret.), now serving as chairman of the board for the Lung Cancer Alliance, was never a smoker, and was surprised at the reactions of friends, family and co-workers when he told them he had lung cancer. They said he was brave for sharing the true nature of his illness.

“With lung cancer, there’s a real stigma attached to it. People don’t mention it in obituaries. There’s this perception that people with lung cancer brought it on themselves. I was never a smoker. Twenty percent of the women with lung cancer who are coming down with it every year have never been smokers.”

The stigma tends to inhibit discussion of lung cancer, Coady says, which impacts funding for research. If nobody is talking about it, the awareness just isn’t there, and it is treated as out of sight, out of mind. Meanwhile, lung cancer kills more people each year than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined. Ninety-two percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer die from the disease.

“I believe intently that the solution to lung cancer is making people aware that it is a public health problem and developing a public policy program. National priorities have not been adjusted to make this a national priority,” Coady says. “LCA’s first mission is to get before Congress to make this a national priority. Then, we go back to Congress and put some dollars behind it.

“The numbers we have all stated about the number of people who have died from lung cancer are compelling. It’s a half a million people every three years. There is no other cancer that comes close. But there’s almost no public funding.”

One current lobbying effort involves approaching state legislatures to gather support for an initiative that would donate 1 percent of tobacco tax revenue or tobacco liability settlements collected by state government for lung cancer research.

“Right now we’re using that money to build roads, schools, other infrastructure, but nothing to do with the cancer,” Coady said.

Next: Personal help for those with lung cancer

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. Navy (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

Become Patient Active

17 Mar 2008 by under Organizations, Research/Treatment

lca logo.thumbnail Become Patient ActiveThe Alliance, in cooperation with The Wellness Community, has developed some great information to help people facing a diagnosis of lung cancer to feel and act empowered about their future.

The Lung Cancer Alliance is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to providing support and advocacy to lung cancer patients, surviors, families, caregiver and those at risk for the disease.

The Patient Active Concept helps people with lung cancer to approach the choices they make with their health care team with a mind set of active participation, helping them to regain a sense of control in what can be an overwhelming situation.

Here are 10 things The Wellness Community recommends:

  • Stay in the moment. Focus on resolving today’s problems and not projecting scenarios of an uncertain future.
  • Help others understand what you need. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Be open and honest about how you want others to treat you.
  • Do what you enjoy! If you feel well enough, participate in activities you enjoyed before your diagnosis.
  • Retain as much control of your life as is reasonable. It might help to make a list of areas you feel you’ve lost control and talk with those who care about you to regain a feeling of comfort in this area.
  • Seek relaxation. A calm, controlled physical state may enhance your immune system.
  • Steer clear of negative words in relation to the illness. Use hopeful words like “survivor” instead of “victim.”
  • Acknowledge your feelings. Find a constructive way to express your emotions, don’t keep them bottled up.
  • Become partners with your doctor. Open communication, ask questions and share honest information.
  • Spend time with other cancer survivors. In person, on line, or on the phone.
  • You can hope for many things. Keep hope for recovery – physical, spiritual, emotional.

These tips are just a tiny bit of the information included in the guide Frankly Speaking about Lung Cancer, available from the Lung Cancer Alliance and The Wellness Community. Contact the Lung Cancer Alliance online, or call 800-298-2436.