As Seen in the News-Press:
Dr. Ahmad spoke about the importance of lung cancer awareness and the dangers of lack of funding for the disease with the News-Press. View the article below.
By Craig Handel
Melissa Crouse’s 11-year journey with cancer has taken her to Washington D.C. for congressional hearings and it has won her an Emmy for telling her story.
But what gives Crouse her biggest satisfaction is the local support group she has started in Fort Myers. About 10-20 people attend her monthly meetings and many will call after that, some in tears, as they talk about their difficulties in dealing with the disease.
“It’s great to be able to help and be there for support,” she said. “I know what they’re going through and it’s very valuable to talk to each other and share experiences.”
October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month, November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Crouse can speak for both.
After being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2005, she went into remission for 3 ½ years only to see the cancer metastasize to her liver. She now is at stage 4. She had to retire as a teacher and often struggles to get out of bed, but she’s ready to go a few more rounds with the disease.
“I’m a fighter and I refuse to give into this,” she said. “I try not to let cancer define me. I’m grateful I’m here and grateful for the little things. I’m able to walk and get mail. My family is here and are a great source of inspiration to me. And I really believe attitude can carry you a long way. It really can.”
A former teacher, Crouse hopes her interactions with politicians, survivors and the media can lead to increased awareness. Using the website LUNGevity as a source, among the things she wants people to know about lung cancer is:
• More lives are lost to lung cancer than to colorectal, pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
• Only 6 percent of federal government dollars spent on cancer research are spent on lung cancer research
• 60-65 percent of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers.
“Anybody can get lung cancer,” she said. “I read a 9-year-old child got it. I network with women in their 30s who were pregnant and diagnosed. Those people never smoked. We need to stop associating lung cancer with smoking. Smoking can cause lung cancer but there are different kinds of lung cancer.