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James Graham Brown Cancer Center to honor lives lost to lung cancer

by UofL Today last modified Nov 02, 2011 09:16 AM

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville will honor lives lost to lung cancer in the past year during a special service on Nov. 21.

“A Time to Remember” is a memorial service for individuals who fought the lung cancer battle at the Brown Cancer Center. It will be held at 6 p.m., Monday, Nov. 21, in the first floor lobby of the Brown Cancer Center at 529 S. Jackson St. A reception follows the service. UofL faculty and staff are invited to attend. To RSVP and for more information about the service, contact Vicki Abdol at 502-217-5114.

At the service, Brown Cancer Center staff will read poems and other passages to commemorate their patients lost to lung cancer. Family members and friends also are invited to bring photos and other mementos of their loved ones to share during the service.

“We know that death ends a life but not a relationship,” said Barb Kruse RN, OCN, director of the Brown Cancer Center’s Multidisciplinary Clinic. “The memorial service is an opportunity for bereaved families and staff to share memories and support each other in the healing process.

“Every patient at the Brown Cancer Center is important to us, and this is another way we can give something back to our patients and their families.”

Kentucky has a disproportionately high incidence of lung cancer, and the number of Kentucky deaths from lung cancer exceeds deaths from breast, colorectal, prostate and pancreatic cancer combined. In 2007, the most recent year for which statistics are available, Kentucky had a lung cancer death rate 50 percent higher than the national average, ranking it highest in the nation.

Nationally, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be about 221,130 new cases of lung cancer diagnoses made in 2011, and an estimated 156,940 deaths from lung cancer.

Of cancer patients who were diagnosed when their cancer was still localized (had not spread), the five-year survival rate was almost 50 percent. Unfortunately, this percentage drops to 2 percent for the cancer patients diagnosed after their cancers had spread distantly.

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center is working to change those statistics through patient care, research and community outreach. A key component of care provided by the Brown Cancer Center is the multidisciplinary clinic that applies a team approach to the diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment recovery from lung cancer.

“In a community medicine setting, a cancer patient’s treatment plan will likely be navigated by whichever physician the patient sees first,” Kruse said. “In our clinics, however, physicians and health professionals work together and consult with one another to develop an individual plan that best suits each patient.

“The physicians and health professionals on the team all feel ownership in the plan for each patient. I believe that feeling of commitment is evident to patients who come through our doors.”

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