Striving for a Cancer-Free World

Lung Cancer Heroes®, CURE® Lung Cancer Heroes® 2021 Essay Book, Volume 2,

Christine Eastep demonstrates the highest commitment to every one of the patients and her staff to improve the outcomes in lung cancer treatment, with a commitment to sending her staff nurses to tobacco cessation classes.

Believe it or not, there was a time when doctors and nurses were allowed to smoke in the nurse’s station and patients could smoke in their hospital beds. It was really frightening if you found your patient asleep in their bed holding a cigarette or if you saw big, black cigarette burns on their crisp, white sheets. Now that was a long time ago. Fortunately, most hospitals and workplaces are now designated “smoke free.” This has become a standard policy to help decrease the number of people who get lung cancer from smoking.

My lung cancer hero is Christine Eastep, MHA, BSN, RN. She is the manager of the Thoracic Oncology Center at OSUCCC – James/The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. It is standard policy based on evidence-based practice to try to help each and every patient in her clinic become smoke free and to give them support, confidence and, most of all, hope during their lung cancer journey.

OSUCCC – James is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the nation. In the thoracic oncology clinic that Christine manages, they see more than 100 patients daily with various stages of lung cancer, with a significant percentage of them smokers. I am nominating Christine for the Lung Cancer Heroes® award because she demonstrates the highest commitment to every one of the patients and her staff to improve the outcomes in lung cancer treatment. Christine has supported the proven evidence that every smoker will benefit from counseling before they begin their tobacco cessation journey and lung cancer treatment. Christine has made it a priority to send each of her staff nurses to tobacco cessation classes so that each one of them are tobacco-cessation-certified counselors.

Christine has made it possible for her staff to have the knowledge to improve the health and quality of life for each patient during lung cancer treatment. Evidence shows that if a patient with lung cancer is able to quit smoking before they have lung surgery, they will heal more quickly, have less chance of getting postoperative pneumonia and typically have a shorter length of stay in the hospital. If a patient quits smoking before they have chemotherapy or radiation, they have fewer side effects such as nausea or loss of appetite and also have less chance of recurrence after completion of their treatment. Every patient who is seen in Christine’s clinic is assessed using the “5 As” of tobacco-cessation counseling: ask, advise, assess, assist and arrange.

Christine is a leader who is committed to doing what’s best for her staff and all our patients with lung cancer. During the past year, she became so passionate to help patients quit smoking that she spearheaded the development of an innovative tool called “The Buckeye Quit Stick.” Christine and the thoracic clinic staff will be completing a pilot study in which patients will be provided The Buckeye Quit Stick — a tool they can use to satisfy the hand-to-oral habit of cigarette smoking and aid them in their journey to quit smoking. It also connects the patient to their health care team as a “Buckeye” via OSUCCC – James/The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Christine’s staff would agree she is a leader who is compassionate, kind and a dedicated advocate for each patient with lung cancer. Christine would tell you it is not an easy journey to undergo lung cancer treatment and/or quit smoking. Christine sees it through the eyes of hundreds of patients every day. President Joe Biden recently visited OSUCCC – James and said, “This place is a source of hope.”

Christine is a beacon of hope. She is an integral part of OSUCCC – James and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in the thoracic oncology clinic. She is a true lung cancer hero. The entire staff of OSUCCC – James share the same vision of striving to have a cancer-free world. Christine and her staff embrace these words, giving hope for each patient in the thoracic oncology clinic on a daily basis.

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