Joosten's Legacy: Lung Cancer Advocacy
Back in February, ThirdAge brought you a breaking medical story about a promising technology called "molecular profiling" that can help doctors personalize treatment for lung cancer patients. Our article featured an interview with "Desperate Housewives" star Kathryn Joosten who credited her molecular profile with giving her the gift of extra months of life as she battled the disease that claims more Americans than all other cancers put together.
Now, at 72, Kathryn has at last succumbed to her illness. Yet her important message lives on as part of "Lung Cancer Profiles." The campaign features her story among others in a bid to educate professionals and ordinary citizens alike about the potentially life-saving advances that profiling, or "gene-mapping," could offer. For decades, doctors treated lung cancer with a “one-size-fits-all” approach but now oncologists know that there are different types of lung cancer driven by various genetic factors. Molecular profiling can help doctors tailor treatment plans based on the genetic makeup of tumors.
If you or someone you love has lung cancer, having a biomarker detected might lead to a more individualized treatment plan. And if you smoke, as Kathryn did before her first diagnosis, please make every effort to quit whether you already have lung cancer or not. Smoking greatly increases your chances of getting the disease – and wreaks plenty of havoc with your health in other ways as well. A recent study of the data of 15,000 patients at Iowa City Hospital and published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons revealed that hospital costs were 4% to 6% percent higher for current smokers compared to patients who never smoked as well former smokers who had managed to kick the habit. The cause of the higher costs was respiratory complications after surgery.