Why I’m selfish

Note from John: Deena is one of those people who inspires me every day.  Dad and I met Deena in Dallas when Deena and I were on a panel about lung cancer.  And yes, I let everyone know the one thing I hate more than The Dallas Cowboys…is lung cancer.  

By: Deena Cook, Self-Proclaimed Lung Cancer Activist

I am a very selfish lung cancer activist. This is why.

I love my husband!  American heroes, those who have served in our Armed Forces, have a 25% higher incidence of lung cancer. My husband, a Navy veteran repaired jet engines and served on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. He does not qualify for lung cancer screening.  His risk is much higher risk than mine, yet I was diagnosed with lung cancer twice!   This is why I advocate for the Department of Defense to maintain and increase funds for the CDMRP Lung Cancer Research Program. This is important for everyone, especially our heroes!

I love my children and grandchildren! My father had lung cancer; I was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Many lung cancer patients have also lost family members to this insidious disease.  Despite the fact that 20% of lung cancer patients NEVER smoked; we are still stuck on the unfounded premise that if you do not smoke or quit smoking you will not be diagnosed with lung cancer. Young healthy adults, especially women, with no known risk factors are being diagnosed with late stage lung cancer. We do not know why.   This is why I advocate for Congress to pass The Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Service Act of 2018.  The prevention strategy is fatally flawed; anyone with lungs can be diagnosed with lung cancer. Our children and grandchildren DESERVE aggressive lung cancer research for their protection.

I want to dance at my Grandchildren’s weddings! Despite the fact that my lung cancers were found early, there is no guarantee I will remain cancer free. Lung cancer reoccurrence rate is high. Currently there is no successful adjunct treatment to insure all of the cancer cells in my body were eliminated.  The 5 year survival rate for lung cancer patients is 18.6%. Lung cancer takes the life of more than 400 of our loved ones, friends and neighbors each and every day. Funding for effective lung cancer treatments to improve outcomes is drastically inadequate. This is why I advocate every year with Lung Cancer Alliance at the National Lung Cancer Summit.

Yes, I am downright SELFISH.  We need many, many more people to selfishly fight for themselves and their loved ones! Lung cancer does not discriminate. The prevention only campaign will not end this disease. NO ONE deserves lung cancer.  So I’m selfishly recruiting for activists to spread awareness about this silent epidemic and help IMPROVE outcomes for ALL lung cancer patients.  It’s easy, I did it and I never looked back! Please contact Lung Cancer Alliance at 1-202-463-2080 or email: info@lungcanceralliance.org. Tell them Deena sent you!

Selfishly I also ask you to support the incredible RHBE efforts.  John is working hard to ensure I will keep dancing!  I have FAITH, that with more passionate and motivated people just like John; we WILL make a difference and SAVE lives!  That’s worth being a little selfish don’t you think?


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