PROFILES IN LUNG CANCER
Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2015
D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD “Progress will come from changing the way we think about cancer”
Director of the Thoracic Oncology Clinical and Clinical Research Programs, University of Colorado
I am incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Ross Camidge as my lung cancer oncologist, clinical trial researcher, advocacy cheerleader, and friend. He goes above and beyond to help lung cancer patients better understand their options and find hope. And he adores his two small daughters.
A sample of the hope Dr. Camidge offers shows in his “User’s Guide to Oncology” presentation. He explains the basic of cancer in understandable language, talks about how to sort through information available online and elsewhere, shares do’s and dont’s of cancer care, and offers some patient inspiring stories. I’m honored that he chose mine as one of them.
Oh, and he has an awesome British accent.
What is your connection with lung cancer?
The first lung cancer patient I remember was called John and he was a plumber in Edinburgh in Scotland. He had never smoked and was one of the first people to go on an EGFR inhibitor in a trial and had a great and long lasting response. He was the nicest of people and introduced me to all his tradesmen friends and I will be forever grateful to him for getting me on the inside track for fixing up my ‘fixer upper’ at the time. We didn’t know about EGFR mutations at that point but it was enough for me to see the potential and the need for breakthroughs in this common serious disease. Now, 15 years later, I run the lung cancer program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center where I am a physician and a clinical and translational researcher.
What does your typical day look like?
Get up before my wife and daughters, try not to wake them on my way out to work. If its a clinic day (two days a week) talk through the plan for every patient with the nurse practitioner, fellow, clinic nurses, schedulers and medical assistant before the first patient arrives. Then jump in and about eight hours later talk through it all again and see how well the battle plan stood up when the enemy (the cancer) was actually engaged. Do follow up emails, calls, dictations, etc. Go home and put one of our two daughters (5 and 3) to bed (pajamas, clean teeth, story), alternating nightly, with my wife doing the other one. Have dinner. Watch variably trashy movie (‘While We’re Young’ with Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts last night was really very touching. ‘Enders Game’ was less touching but still fun the night before). Go to sleep. On a non-clinic day, it is similar but the middle bit involves lots of meetings and emails and phone calls, with senior and often junior faculty here and around the country and the world (I mentor a lot of bright young things), drug companies and various educational/advocacy groups trying to move clinical and translational research on new treatments for lung cancer forward.
What might we not know about you?
I am grossed out by slugs. Oh, and I taught myself to juggle while revising for my Royal College of Physicians exams in the UK many years ago and still occasionally do it to keep my children amused.
What do you want us to know about lung cancer?
Progress will come from changing the way we think about cancer as much as through specific drug or molecular breakthroughs. A lot of the advances I have been fortunate enough to be involved with have come from not being shy about defining the edges of human knowledge, and then pushing on through.
What brings you hope?
Seeing the courage, dignity, love and humor of people who triumph over cancer simply by being themselves regardless of whether the cancer gets better or worse.
Each day during Lung Cancer Awareness Month (November), a lung cancer blogger will share a brief profile of someone involved with lung cancer. The person profiled might be a patient, caregiver, advocate, researcher, or healthcare provider.
Yesterday’s post was on Lisa Buonnano’s blog “Faith, Family & Friends.”
Tommorow’s post will on Lisa Goldman’s blog Every Breath I Take.
All profiles can be found the day after posting on the #LCSM Chat blog at http://lcsmchat.com/. A list of links to all the profiles on the original bloggers’ pages can be found at on the #LCSM Chat site on the Profiles in Lung Cancer page.