Lung Cancer Space Must ‘Maximize’ the People Who Benefit From Advancements


Lung cancer advocates and clinicians must ”fight” for every patient with the disease and ensure that the most amount of people can benefit from advancements in the field, according to an advocate.

When advocating for patients with lung cancer and moving the field forward, it is essential to ensure the benefits of new treatments are available to everyone with the disease — regardless of former smoking history or the city and cancer center where they are being treated, emphasized Chris Draft.

Draft is a former NFL player whose wife inspired him to establish the Chris Draft Family Foundation’s Team Draft National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer initiative before she died of the disease. More recently, Draft delivered the keynote speech at CURE®’s third annual Lung Cancer Heroes® awards program.

“Are we willing to commit to maximizing all the things we can do?” Draft said in an interview with CURE®. “Are we making sure we maximize all the people who can benefit from (advancements)?”


Do we understand in lung cancer that a diagnosis for someone who doesn't have a smoking history can just blow their doggone minds? We need to heal them by coming to them right away and helping them to accept it.

For the person who has a smoking history, we need to meet them with (saying) if they're a former smoker, letting them know, “you've got this, you are strong enough, because if you were strong enough to stop smoking dagnabbit you have accomplished (something difficult).

(For) somebody who still is dealing with that addiction, we have to validate it, how many times have you tried to stop …. Unfortunately, this happened, but I'm not going to blame you. In 1998, the cigarette industry got indicted, so not going to blame you, but acknowledge how difficult it is when we meet our people.

So what can we do right now is decide who we (are) fighting for. Are we fighting for everyone? Because then it changes how we work. It says we're not going to just hang out with the academic centers, we've got to have the community cancer centers, and we've got to be willing to go and make it easy for people to know the new (treatments).

I know certain doctors; they want to be able to say “my place is better.” For them, yes, they got to do it. But for me, it says dagnabbit there are people missing out. Because how many people could get on a plane and travel for treatment? How many people can consistently drive three hours; consistently drive longer than that? They can't.

So are we willing to commit to maximizing all the things that we can do? And making sure we maximize all the people that can benefit from (advancements)?

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Image of Dr. Minesh Mehta at ASCO 2024.