HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Dianna Cox found out in June that she has stage four lung cancer. It started with a cough. Her doctor originally thought it was asthma and put her on an inhaler. Eventually he sent her to have a CAT scan. She had a call from her doctor before she could even get back to work, with the news.
With Dianna’s family history, she knew she had to be aggressive in treating this.
According to Dianna, “In 2004 my father was diagnosed with lung cancer in February and he passed away in June. And in April of 2005, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away in August. So they both lived four months after their diagnosis. So that of course was my immediate thought.”
Dianna immediately hit the phones looking for a clinical trial, knowing that would give her the best shot of beating her cancer. She found a trial testing a new drug at Clearview Cancer Institute in Huntsville.
Dr. Marshall Schreeder is her physician. He explains, “What we’re able to do now is identify precisely, for instance, what may turn a tumor on or off. And we’re developing drugs that target that on/off switch directly.”
Dr. Schreeder says trials and research are essential, but that it takes funding, as well as patients who are interested in helping themselves and future patients.
“Cancer of the lung is the leading cause of death among women. It’s not breast, it’s lung,” says Dr. Schreeder. “Among men, it’s not prostate, it’s not colon, it’s lung. You can take the next three causes of death completely. Lung cancer kills more people than that. So it’s very important to make progress in this disease.”
Dianna just started the trial three weeks ago. She says her faith has gotten her through, and she believes it’s what guided her to this trial close to home. She hopes her story will help others who also face a cancer diagnosis.
“Cancer is not my life. This is getting in the way of what I do, but I still am going to go to work, I’m going to ride my horses, and I’m going to do the things that I do.” Dianna goes on to say, “This is just a little side step that we’re dealing with at the time. It’s not my life. It’s just part of the journey.”