Lung Cancer Connection is a grassroots, non-profit advocacy group, established in St. Louis, Missouri, by two lung cancer survivors who were determined to increase local patients' disease knowledge and to improve their quality of life and medical care.
In September 2008, Myrtle Chidester and Cheryl Lamprecht met through a lung cancer networking group sponsored by the Wellness Community. As they shared their stories, each found that they bad been completely blindsided by their diagnosis of lung cancer.
As their dialogue continued, Myrtle and Cheryl discovered that they were equally disturbed by their experiences regarding the general prognoses of lung cancer patients, treatment options available to them, and the ensuing implications for their bodies, their spirits, and their lives.
Accepting in some measure that their own fates may have been cast, Myrtle and Cheryl found strength in their shared commitment to improving the experiences of future lung cancer patients.
Cheryl and Myrtle were shocked by the dismal facts of lung cancer at that time. . .
- Only 15% of patients are alive five years after diagnosis.
- There is no effective early detection lung cancer screening for the general public.
- The majority of lung cancer patients are diagnosed so late they will die within one year.
- A staggering number of people are affected by lung cancer - over 215,000 per year.
- More people die of lung cancer than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney, and melanoma cancers combined.
From their experiences, Cheryl and Myrtle learned that research funding for more effective lung cancer treatment lags far behind other cancers, and the treatment options that do exist are limited and come with grave uncertainties regarding side effects, efficacy, and survival.
Most regrettably, Cheryl and Myrtle learned there are virtually no support systems for lung cancer patients. When told of their diagnoses and prognoses, each woman felt alone -- without resources or hope. There truly is no greater despair than feeling uninformed and without control over your health and your survival.
I was 51 years old and felt very smug about my fitness level. I was consistently running about sixteen miles a week and had completed a half-marathon the year I turned 50. I was very puzzled at this new persistent pain but not panicked. I could not imagine that anything could be seriously wrong as I was doing all the right things.
Read Myrtle Chidester's Story »
Myrtle lost her battle with lung cancer February 20, 2012, but her vision and inspiration to bring awareness to this terrible disease live on through Lung Cancer Connection.