On October 9th, 2010 I held my mothers hand while I watched her take her breaths as she lost her short battle with lung cancer. Today if you asked someone what type of cancer kills more people each year, they are unlikely to say lung cancer. Yet lung cancer is the leading cause of death among men and women in the US, killing more people than breast, colon, pancreatic, and prostate cancer combined. Founded in 2010, The Sharon Clough Foundation was inspired by a courageous woman's fight to beat lung cancer. President and Founder Chris Clough seeks to honor his mother, Sharon Clough's memory, as well as to honor all who have fought, Sharon's Angels, or continue to fight, Sharon's Soldiers, the silent killer; lung cancer.
1. TO RAISE AWARENESS of lung cancer throughout the United States
and International community.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, accounting for 1/3 of all cancer deaths. 1.3 million people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year and kills nearly 1.2 million people each year. Every 2 1/2 minutes someone in the US is diagnosed with lung cancer, and every 3 minutes someone in the US dies from lung cancer. Lung cancer kills twice as many women compared to breast cancer, and 20% of these women have never smoked. Lung cancer kills three times more men each year than prostate cancer.
Lung cancer is not just a disease among smokers, the stigma that keeps the disease silent and underfunded. The youngest person diagnosed with lung cancer was in China, she was just 8 years old; the cause was air pollution. One in five women and 1 in 12 men diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked. Dana Reeves never smoked. Elevated radon levels is the second leading cause of lung cancer, and the leading cause in non-smokers.
2. TO RAISE MONEY to fund the leading lung cancer researchers whose
research holds the greatest promise to save lives and improve patient survival.
The Foundation has partnered with Dr. Peter Mazzone from the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Peter Mazzone is Staff and Director of Education at Cleveland Clinic's Respiratory Institute. In addition, he is Director of the Lung Cancer Program for the Respiratory Institute and Director of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program. His research interests focus on breath analysis, lung cancer diagnostics, lung nodule evaluation, lung physiology assessment, and lung cancer screening.
We are also fortunate to have partnered with Dr. Thomas Lynch, MD. Dr. Lynch has made important contributions to developmental therapeutics for lung cancer and has worked to define the optimal treatment for patients with lung cancer. He pioneered the use of molecular testing for mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene to select patients who can benefit from targeted lung cancer therapies.
The inequity of lung cancer funding compared to the other cancers is staggering. In 2008 FUNDING FOR LUNG CANCER RESEARCH DROPPED TO 169 MILLION, a 42% decrease compared to previous years. In 2007, the National Cancer Institute budgeted $242.9 million for lung cancer research. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense earmarked no money for lung cancer research in 2007. In 2006 lung cancer received $266 million; in 2005 lung cancer research received $289 million.
3. TO DEVELOP A DIAGNOSTIC TEST that detects lung cancer in
its early stages when is most likely to be treated and cured.
The Foundation has partnered with Picomole Instruments that has developed a rapid non-invasive, ultra-sensitive exhaled gas analysis test. Every patient has a "breathprint" that is similar to a finger print.
Currently there is no diagnostic screening test that detects lung cancer early. The National Lung Screening Trial demonstrated that low dose computed tomography (CT) is more effective in detecting tumors compared to chest x-ray, but this exposes the patient to radiation.
The survival rate for lung cancer is 49% when the disease is detected early and is localized (has not metastisized). However, only 16% of lung cancers are diagnosed at this stage. The 5-year survival rate of advanced lung cancer is 16%. Breast cancer has an 85% survival rate.
4. TO BRING THE FIGHT TO LUNG CANCER to erase the
stigma that exists with lung cancer that they did this to themselves.
80% of newly diagnosed lung cancer patients either never smoked or stopped decades before they were diagnosed. We will fight to find a cure and give a voice to the silent killer that is lung cancer, and honor all those who has passed and who are currently fighting the disease.
By achieving our mission, we will have
1. Given a voice to a silent disease that has taken so many of our loved ones too early.
2. Become the leaders in non-profit funding that funds leading lung cancer researchers
who will transform lung cancer from an incurable disease to a chronic medical
condition where survival is expected and no longer the exception.
3. Increased survival times for those diagnosed with lung cancer so that survival is norm
and no longer the exception.