Saturday , June 3 2023

Nonsmoker with stage-four lung cancer is working to raise awareness



Lung cancer is a devastating disease and despite its reputation as a smoker's disease, it affects nonsmokers as well.

One local mother is surviving stage-four lung cancer, and she is working to break down the stigma surrounding the disease.

"How do you explain this to your children?"

It's a question that Stephanie Peace, a 44 year-old mother of three, a school teacher and a nonsmoker in Cape Coral herself every day.

"No one deserves lung cancer. Nobody, "she said.

Each doctors diagnosed it two-and-a-half years ago.

"We want to stress that this is not a smoker's disease," she said.

In fact, the University of South Florida Health says 60 percent of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among the people who have never been smoked or have been quit smoking.

It's something that Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

"I will never be cancer-free," she said. "Lung cancer is a crisis, and we need to spread the word."

Dr. Luiz Pita de Oliveira is an oncologist with Lee Health.

"Up to eight percent of cases happen in non-smokers," she said.

Even if you do not smoke, other factors such as radon, lung disease and genetics may be at play.

Weight loss or shortness of breath, she said, should be checked out.

This Thanksgiving, Peace and her husband say they are still a family.

"I do not know if that time ever comes," said her husband.

And they are also thankful for their insurance. Without it, one bottle of her targeted therapy would cost them $ 14,000.

"While I'm here, I just want to do more," said Peace.

And that includes doing more to raise awareness and to save lives.

Peace is partnering with former NFL player Chris Draft to raise money for lung cancer research.

To learn more about the Chris Draft's organization and how can you end up with lung cancer stigma, you can visit their website.

And you can find Stephanie's campaign here.

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