Once a Day Pill Puts Lung Cancer Patient Back on the Golf Course Living Life to Fullest

Marsha Harris

Marsha Harris is a self-described fitness junkie – she loves staying active and can regularly be found at a ballet barre class or out on the golf course. So when she started experiencing labored breathing doing normal activities, she thought perhaps it was lingering effects of a respiratory virus.

“I was literally huffing and puffing and that wasn’t normal,” Marsha recalled.

In February 2016, she decided to go to the doctor. Imaging tests confirmed lung cancer. When her doctor asked her where she’d like to go for treatment, she immediately said the OSUCCC – James.

There, she was referred to David Carbone, MD, PhD, head of thoracic oncology where she ultimately learned she had stage 4 lung adenonocarcinoma. Genomic testing revealed an EGFR mutation, which was highly treatable with a daily medication called afatinib (marketed as Gilotrif). The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug in 2013 as a first-line treatment in EGFR+ non-small cell lung cancers.

She began treatment on March 12, 2016 – a day emblazoned in her memory – and her cancer has responded since.

“I have watched other people go through this disease and have very different outcomes. I feel good. I have energy. I can do what I want and live my life and I am so thankful for that opportunity,” she says.

To learn more about the lung cancer treatment team or clinical trials at The James, visit cancer.osu.edu/lungcancer or call 1-800-293-5066.

New Research: Rise in Lung Adenocarcinoma Linked to Light Cigarettes

A new study, published May 22, 2017, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) shows that so-called “light” cigarettes have no health benefits to smokers and have likely contributed to the rise of a certain form of lung cancer that occurs deep in the lungs.

OSUCCC – James researchers partnered with five other cancer centers to conduct a comprehensive multi-faceted analysis of existing literature that included chemistry and toxicology studies, human clinical trials and epidemiological studies of both smoking behavior and cancer risk. They studied scientific publications in the peer-reviewed literature and internal tobacco company documents.

Filter holes on cigarettesResults confirmed what public health experts have suspected for years: There is not health benefit to high-ventilation (light) cigarettes, long marketed by the tobacco industry as a “healthier” option – and those cigarettes are likely causing higher incidence rates of lung adenocarcinoma.

Read more about this research.