Lung Cancer won’t deter this Scotiabank Charity Challenge team. Will you join them?

Lynne Cameron was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in December 2018 and was told that although the disease was treatable, it was not curable. Her only option was to undergo treatment and learn to live with the disease as best she could. Cameron, her 18-year-old son, friends, and family all had to cope and move forward. 

“This is your new reality. You learn to continue to live the best life you can. I don’t focus on my cancer, which is made easier by the fact that I am getting such excellent treatment and responding well to it,” shared Cameron. 

Last December, Cameron started in a clinical trial out of Toronto’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and within six weeks her tumours had shrunk by half and have remained stable ever since! This is clear evidence of the importance of research in extending the lives of thousands of people every year.

Cameron is not alone in her lung cancer journey. She has a strong support network which includes a lung cancer support group here in Ottawa. The group is facilitated by Dr. Sophie Lebel, a clinical psychologist, and offered by Lung Cancer Canada. The group meets regularly and supports each other through the ups and downs of the disease. 

“My support circle is fantastic, it is important to be with people who know what you are going through, who experience similar ‘bumps’ on their cancer journey. We just get it,” says Cameron.

In addition, the group promotes lung cancer awareness so as to reduce the stigma around lung cancer and raise much needed funds for lung cancer research. According to Cameron, Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend provides a valuable platform for Lung Cancer Canada and other causes to do so. 

“In Canada, lung cancer accounts for 25% of all cancer deaths and yet receives only 7% of cancer related funding. This imbalance between the toll the disease takes and research funding is in large part due to the stigma associated with lung cancer…that it is a ‘smokers’ disease.”

In fact, the Canadian Cancer Society estimates that 28% of lung cancer cases are not tobacco related. As Cameron says, “No one deserves to get cancer. Quite simply, if you have lungs you can get lung cancer.” 

Cameron attributes radon gas as a possible cause for her cancer as it is the leading environmental cause of lung cancer. 

“I encourage everyone to have their house tested for radon gas and take mitigation steps if necessary, so as to ensure that their radon gas levels are at a safe level,” recommends Cameron.

Unfortunately, 70% of lung cancers are diagnosed at either stage III or IV, when treatment options are more limited. “What we need is early screening, like what we have for breast cancer, so that the disease can be caught early when treatment is more successful and there is a better chance of survival. Early detection, at stage I or II would save many lives.” 

Cameron, with other members of the Ottawa Lung Cancer Support Group, will be walking the Ottawa 2K on Saturday June 26th at 11 am at Chamberlain Park near Tunney’s Pasture and invites anyone who cares about lung cancer to join the group. 

“It is a wonderful opportunity to meet in a safe, socially-distanced way, and to raise awareness and much needed funds for lung cancer research. We will be carrying big white ribbons so as to shine a light on lung cancer and to show those with lung cancer are not alone in their journey.”

Cameron has big plans and looks forward to receiving her vaccination and continuing with her bucket list, which includes scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands. “I love scuba diving! It has been frustrating to be grounded this past year, but like having cancer, we have to cope and move forwards.”

Cameron raised $2,000 last year at the first virtual Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and aims to exceed that amount this year. Eight team members have also set up fundraising pages for Lung Cancer Canada. Visit Cameron’s page or the team page and cheer them on with a donation or a shout out on social! KEEP UP THE GREAT EFFORT TEAM!