The Four-Time Stage IV Lung Cancer Patient


For Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Lungcast speaks with Christy Fischer, a patient who's spent the last 17 years fighting late-stage cancer.

Episode Highlights

0:17 Intro
1:55 Christy's first diagnosis
3:53 Reacting to Stage IV lung cancer
5:28 Initiating treatment
7:18 The lung cancer stigma
9:51 Finding the right doctor
11:16 How lung cancer care changed over 17 years
14:20 Clinical trial participation
16:51 Becoming an advocate
20:33 Advice for physicians diagnosing lung cancer
22:18 How to keep living after diagnosis

Lung Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to reserve time, thought and action toward helping the increasing rate of patients living with or at risk of lung cancer.

In that regard, there may be fewer more remarkable, or inspiring, stories to share this month than Christy Fischer’s.

For Lung Cancer Awareness Month this November, Lungcast spoke with Fischer, a four-time stage IV lung cancer patient whose 17 years spent fighting cancer has provided her an invaluable perspective on the patient experience—as well as a unique outlook on the evolution of lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Lungcast is a monthly respiratory news podcast series hosted by Al Rizzo, MD, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association (ALA), and produced by HCPLive.

Throughout their patient-to-physician conversation, Fischer guided Rizzo from her first lung cancer diagnosis—the thoughts and feelings that she felt like so many of her peers in that appointment—to all the intricate advancements she’s seen in routine care and in her involvement in numerous clinical trials. Fischer, a non-smoker, additionally discussed the stigmatizing effect of lung cancer; she described her process to selecting the right care team for herself, as well as her journey toward volunteering and advocating with the ALA.

Lastly, Fischer gave advice to both Rizzo and his physician peers, on how to humanely and empathetically diagnose and initiate lung cancer care—as well as advice to her fellow patients who may be just beginning a journey she’s known for far too long.

“If you give up, if you let it overcome you, then it will,” Fischer said. “If you’re diagnosed with lung cancer or any other form of cancer: keep living. Just keep living your life. Keep moving forward.”

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