WAYNE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Lung cancer kills more people in the U.S. Than any other type of cancers combined. One of the key reason is that one a small percentage of lung cancer case are detected in the early stages. But a new drug is now giving lung cancer patients new hope of survival with less side effects than traditional chemotherapy.
Kathy and Ralph Record say they have a lot to be thankful for, but it's not for something anyone would expect. Three years ago, a routine mammogram found a very small lump ion Kathy's right breast. It turned out to be breast cancer.
"My breast cancer was a gift, it saved my life, if I hadn't had breast cancer, I would have never had a chest x-ray for any reason whatsoever at all," says Record.
That x-ray revealed an egg sized tumor wrapped around Kathy's bronchial tube in her left lung. The lung cancer was in an advanced staged, and was cutting off oxygen flow to her lung by 80 percent. But like many lung cancer patients, she didn't have any symptoms.
"The tragic part is you don't find out until it is stage four. There isn't early detection like there is for breast cancer," said Record.
Before and after doctors removed the tumor and part of upper lobe of her lung, Kathy underwent traditional radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
Doctors then put her on a new drug called Tarceva, which targeted the cancer cells and kept them from reproducing. Record was on the new treatment for two years, but the side effects were less severe.
Three years later, with her cancer in remission she is working with other lung cancer survivors to raise awareness and erase the stigma of lung cancer. Like many lung cancer patients, Kathy never smoke a day in her life.
Record says she is blessed that she is able to educate others about lung cancer.
"So many people die before they have a chance to get out and do what I am doing and help make the population more aware," about a disease that claims someone's life in the US every three minutes.
The Lung Cancer Free Alliance is holding it's 1st Annual Your Breath Walk at the Buker School in Augusta Saturday.
The event begins at 8:45 and more than half of the proceeds will go to lung cancer research. If you would like more information you can go to http://www.lungcanceralliance.org.