CROP-vigil 2015

Upstate Cancer Center to host Shine a Light on Lung Cancer Nov. 15

Dozens of luminaries will be lit in honor of those affected by lung cancer during the annual Shine a Light on Lung Cancer event Thursday, Nov. 15, held at the Upstate Cancer Center, 750 E. Adams St.

The event, which is open to the public, also celebrates Lung Cancer Awareness Month and the Great American Smokeout, the American Cancer Society day committed to helping individuals go without smoking.

The event begins at 5 p.m. when the luminaries are lit and placed outside the Cancer Center by friends and families. At 6 p.m. various speakers will offer words of inspiration, before heading outside to create a human ribbon of light.

Despite breakthroughs in treatments and a decline in smoking in recent years, lung cancer remains one of the deadliest forms of cancer. An estimated 154,050 Americans are expected to die from lung cancer in 2018, accounting for approximately 25 percent of all cancer deaths.

Leslie Kohman, MD, FACS, SUNY Distinguished Professor, says the best defense against lung cancer is to quit smoking and participate in lung cancer screening programs to catch the cancer before it spreads, when it is most treatable. Upstate offered one of the region’s first lung cancer screening programs with low-dose CT scan. Today the screening protocol is covered by most insurance companies and research has found it to be one of the most effective ways at spotting cancer in its earliest stages.

“The Upstate Cancer Center, through its outreach, treatment options and research, brings a robust coordinated approach to cancer care to the community,” Kohman said. “Our ability to spot, diagnose and treat cancer at its earliest means we are celebrating more cancer survivors each day.”

It is only fitting that Upstate hosts the Shine a Light on Lung Cancer event. Upstate was a pioneer in creating a smoke-free campus, becoming the first SUNY campus and the first hospital in the area to prohibit smoking and tobacco use on campus in 2005.  Under the policy, Upstate employees may participate for free in smoking cessation programs and receive free nicotine replacement therapy.

In April, Upstate began providing nicotine replacement therapy lozenges to visitors who want to smoke but can’t light up because of the hospital’s no-smoking policy and a county law that prohibits smoking within 100 feet of hospitals.

Speakers at the Shine a Light on Lung Cancer event will include physicians as well as families affected by lung cancer.

Caption: The entrance to the Upstate Cancer Center is lined with luminaries in honor for Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

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