Impassioned Lung Cancer Survivors Join Your Cancer Game Plan, Merck to Advocate for Others Facing This Highly Stigmatized Disease
KENILWORTH, N.J., (Nov. 29, 2017) – A vivacious working mother. A motivated college athlete. A career-minded dad and avid runner. An energetic father and professional soccer referee. They differ in age, gender, athleticism and careers, yet each was stunned by a lung cancer diagnosis. Today, the four lung cancer survivors take every opportunity to right misperceptions about it being only a “smoker’s disease” and use their voices to advocate for others who are impacted by the number one cancer killer worldwide. They’ve joined leading lung cancer advocacy groups, CancerCare and Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, to bring their voices to Your Cancer Game Plan, an awareness campaign focused on helping people with cancer and their loved ones cope with their emotional well-being, health/nutrition and communication needs during their cancer journey. The program now offers resources to help people with lung cancer map out their own cancer “game plan.”
Lung cancer does not have the same resources, support and public empathy as many other cancers. Because there have only been incremental increases in the survival rate for the past 40 years, unfortunately there isn’t an army of survivors who can become the public face of the disease. Lung cancer survivor Taylor Bell Duck wants to see this change. A never-smoker who was diagnosed at the age of 21, she’s become a vocal advocate for those impacted by the disease and is breaking down stereotypes in the process.
“After my diagnosis, I was sad and angry. No one deserves to get lung cancer. I felt like it had taken so much away from me and that my life would never be the same,” said Duck. “With my family’s support and encouragement from my doctors, I came to realize that I survived to make a difference in people’s lives that have to fight this disease as well.”
By visiting www.yourcancergameplan.com people can get advice from Duck and her fellow lung cancer survivors on facing stigma, managing shifting family roles and finding hope. The site also profiles Duck’s complete cancer journey, how she built a strong support team, and her realization that she survived to advocate for others going through the same journey. Your Cancer Game Plan for lung cancer is a collaboration between Merck and CancerCare, and five leading lung cancer patient organizations, including Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, LUNGevity, Lung Cancer Alliance, Lung Cancer Foundation of America, and Lung Cancer Research Foundation.
Understanding Lung Cancer
Lung cancer, which forms in the tissues of the lungs, usually within cells lining the air passages, is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 155,000 Americans will die this year from lung cancer. Unfortunately, because most lung cancers are associated with smoking, lung cancer remains a highly-stigmatized disease. The guilt and blame associated with lung cancer may prevent people from talking about their illness and even visiting their doctors for treatment.
“No matter how a person gets lung cancer, it shouldn’t impact the care they get or the empathy they receive,” said Bonnie J. Addario, lung cancer survivor and Chair of the Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. “As the community focuses on growing survivorship, patient advocacy in lung cancer has never been more important. People affected by the disease are in need of reliable information and resources to help support them in their journey.”
About Your Cancer Game Plan
“At the center of Your Cancer Game Plan is the person with cancer, which is why we’re thrilled to work with this group of lung cancer survivors on expanding this program,” said Jill DeSimone, senior vice president, Merck Oncology, U.S. “Each of these advocates brings a shared commitment and passion that Merck and our partners hold for educating and supporting the community of people impacted by this devastating disease.” Your Cancer Game Plan is a resource for people with cancer and their loved ones focused on the emotional, health and communication challenges of living with cancer. The online Your Cancer Game Plan hub provides unique video content including communication tips, coping strategies, and health and nutritional information, as well as healthy recipes, to help those with cancer and their caregivers take an active role in developing a “game plan” to support their journey. The initiative is supported by Merck in partnership with CancerCare, Savor Health and 14 cancer-specific organizations – including lung, melanoma and head and neck cancers – with more than 300 years of combined experience. To learn more, visit www.yourcancergameplan.com .
Founded in 1944, CancerCare is the leading national organization providing free, professional support services and information to help people manage the emotional, practical and financial challenges of cancer. Our comprehensive services include counseling and support groups over the phone, online and in-person, educational workshops, publications and financial and co-payment assistance. CancerCare services are provided by oncology social workers and world-leading cancer experts.
About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused, and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating lung cancer through research, early detection, education, and treatment. The Foundation’s goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors, and their families to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change and turn lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. The ALCF was established on March 1, 2006 as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and has raised nearly $30 million for lung cancer research and related programs. For more information about the ALCF please visit www.lungcancerfoundation.org or follow ALCF on Facebook or Twitter.
About LUNGevity Foundation
LUNGevity is the nation’s leading lung cancer organization investing in lifesaving, translational research and providing support services and education for patients and caregivers. LUNGevity’s goals are three-fold: (1) accelerate research to patients, (2) empower patients to be active participants in their treatment decisions, and (3) remove barriers that patients face in accessing the right treatments.
LUNGevity Foundation is firmly committed to making an immediate impact on increasing quality of life and survivorship of people with lung cancer by accelerating research into early detection and more effective treatments, as well as by providing community, support, and education for all those affected by the disease. LUNGevity’s comprehensive resources include a medically vetted website, a toll-free HELPLine in partnership with CancerCare®, a unique Lung Cancer Navigator app, peer-to-peer mentoring for patients and caregivers (LUNGevity LifeLine), and survivorship conferences. LUNGevity also helps patients find and navigate clinical trials through our Clinical Trial Finder tool, a Clinical Trial Ambassador program, and participation with EmergingMed.
Our vision is a world where no one dies of lung cancer. For more information about LUNGevity Foundation, please visit www.LUNGevity.org.
About Lung Cancer Alliance
Lung Cancer Alliance serves and listens to those living with and at risk for lung cancer to reduce stigma, improve quality of life and increase survival. We empower a vibrant and caring community by helping people navigate the paths of early detection, diagnosis, treatment and long-term survival. Insights into our community allow us to improve care, amplify awareness, drive advocacy and lead transformative research with the vision of tripling the number of survivors in the next decade.
About Lung Cancer Foundation of America
Lung Cancer Foundation of America’s (LCFA) mission is the dramatic improvement in survivorship of lung cancer patients through the funding of transformative science, with the ultimate goal of curing the disease.
In 2017, LCFA will be responsible for funding 2 million dollars in lung cancer research grants to young investigators by the end of the year. Learn more about the Foundation at www.lcfamerica.org.
About The Lung Cancer Research Foundation
The Lung Cancer Research Foundation is the pre-eminent national nonprofit focused on funding innovative, high-reward research with the potential to extend survival and improve quality of life for people with lung cancer. The organization’s mission is to improve lung cancer outcomes by funding research for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of lung cancer.
To date, the Lung Cancer Research Foundation has provided 342 grants, totaling nearly $34 million to institutions around the world for critical lung cancer research. In addition to funding lung cancer research, the organization focuses on lung cancer awareness and education programs. The Foundation will also host over 50 public events nationwide through the Free to Breathe Event Series.
The Lung Cancer Research Foundation and Free to Breathe merged on September 30, 2017 to further our impact on lung cancer research discoveries. Visit www.lungcancerresearchfoundation.org to learn more.
Merck’s Focus on Cancer
Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck Oncology, helping people fight cancer is our passion and supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment. Our focus is on pursuing research in immuno-oncology and we are accelerating every step in the journey – from lab to clinic – to potentially bring new hope to people with cancer.
For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world - including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
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