Dancing With The Stars honors young woman with Lung Cancer

As an oncology nurse and lung cancer advocate, I know all too well that lung cancer is the “silent cancer” – the cancer that patients don’t admit to, the cancer the public doesn’t speak about, the cancer that receives little federal funding – even though lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer in the US!

Lung cancer takes more lives each year than breast, prostate and colon cancer combinedTwice as many women die of lung cancer than breast cancer every year.  Non-smokers are diagnosed with lung cancer at an alarming rate; accounting for 15% of diagnoses each year.  Young people, even children, are being diagnosed with lung cancer.  But for every $9 spent on breast cancer in America; only $1 is spent on lung cancer – leaving the overall survival rate hovering at 15% for the past 40 years!  Well, I am here to say – Lung cancer patients will be silent no more!

I am so pleased to see that a leading TV show – Dancing With The Stars – had the courage to honor a young ballroom dancer diagnosed with lung cancer.  DWTS first “AT&T Spotlight Performance” featured the story of Julia Ivleva – a beautiful, young, athletic woman diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.   Julia had the courage to share her story even saying the words “I have lung cancer” and the grace to share her tears with the nation.  Bravo Dancing With The Stars.  Bravo AT&T.  Bravo Julia!

Let us remember that ANYONE CAN GET LUNG CANCER!

A note to Julia

Julia, you are not alone in this fight.  You have your healthcare team; you have your friends and family and, you have the lung cancer community.  The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation is a great resource for you.  They have an amazing support group called The Living Room, a tremendous healthcare referral network, and always have a kind word to help you through the day. Please contact Danielle Hicks (Bonnie’s daughter) with any questions.  Danielle is located in California and can be reached at 650-598-2857 or Danielle@lungcancerfoundatio.org.

-Alicia, RN, MBA, Patient Advocate

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