Lori Monroe says she was saddened by the death of longtime ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings. But she said the news did not surprise her.
Monroe says: "Very, very few survive. There will be 175,000 people diagnosed with lung cancer this year and 162,000 will lose their lives."
Monroe is one of only 15 percent of lung cancer patients to beat the disease.
Monroe says: "I was diagnosed with stage IV. My diagnosis was in 2001. I was given a very poor prognosis six to eight months. Which is a typical for stage IV lung cancer patient."
After aggressive therapy and treatment Monroe beat lung cancer. So when Jennings announced he had cancer she wrote to him to offer encouragement.
Monroe says: "I had two emails from him. I had emailed him and kinda told him my story. I told him it's not necessarily a death sentence. And I did get an email back from him saying thank you for your email it was very encouraging."
After a few weeks Monroe wrote him back to ask about his treatment.
He was in the midst of chemotherapy and told her how tough it was. She says that's a typical answer for anyone going through treatment. Monroe hoped Jennings would survive and become a spokesperson for lung cancer, to help negate some of the stereotypes about the disease, and to encourage all ex-smokers and current smokers to ask to be screened for lung cancer.
Monroe says: "Peter Jennings had quit smoking 20 years prior to his diagnosis and was still diagnosed with lung cancer."
Fifty percent of new lung cancer cases this year will be diagnosed in former smokers. Ten to fifteen percent will be diagnosed in people who have never smoked. Thirty-five to forty percent will be in current smokers.
Signs and symptoms of lung cancer include:
- a cough that does not go away
- chest pain
- recurring infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia