N04 — February 2013 — Super Survivor Conquers Cancer
Intro: With the Super Bowl on many people's minds this week, a 12-year Veteran of the NFL is tackling a different opponent — Lung Cancer. Team-mates in his fight include Mayo Clinic and a cancer survivor who's putting a new face on an often misunderstood disease. Here's Dennis Douda for the Mayo Clinic News Network.
“I mention the word lung cancer and they’re like, you’re still alive!”
You better believe she is. Linda Wortman is a 5-year lung cancer survivor. Even though she never smoked, 20 years of exposure to 2nd hand smoke as a flight attendant is suspect #1 for her illness.
“Nice to meet you!”
Former NFL Player Chris Draft understands Linda’s struggle all too well. At 37-years old Draft’s wife Keasha, also a non-smoker, died of lung cancer just a year after her diagnosis. He’s dedicated his foundation to continuing her fight to educate others.
“Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer. Lung cancer kills more than breast, prostate, colon liver, kidney, melanoma combined.”
“That’s’ really what we’re doing in this national campaign to change the face of lung cancer is that we set out to understand the state of lung cancer and the hope of Lung cancer.”
“Those pieces of hope continue to evolve and innovations continue to appear.
Mayo Clinic Thoracic surgeon Dr. Stephen Cassivi is another one of Linda’s heroes. Dr. Cassivi says even though it’s frustrating only 15 to 20% of lung cancer patients survive beyond 5-years, Linda is proof that advances in early detection, surgical techniques and treatment options make a difference.
“She shows us what can be achieved at the best of situations.”
Linda’s follow up care at Mayo Clinic includes complimentary therapies like acupuncture which she says help preserve her quality of life and can-do attitude.So, when the NFL recently invited cancer survivors to every game, it’s no wonder it was Linda representing her Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome. Linda ran to the nosebleed seats with a message.
“You can go to the top stairs in any dome and look down on and watch that game and feel like a champ.”
It continues back on the ground…
“Coming up on my 5th year survivorship, I decided I was going to run a 5K in every state.”
15-states so far and, thankfully, no finish line in sight.
For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I’m Dennis Douda.
For more information on Team Draft’s campaign or to access Mayo Clinic’s team, just click these links: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lung-cancer/DS00038
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