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Biomarker testing story

Bonnie, a lung cancer patient, started a foundation that educates on early detection as well as biomarker testing.
San Carlos, CA

We asked Bonnie to share her story with Pfizer

We asked Bonnie to share her story with Pfizer

My name is Bonnie, and before my diagnosis with lung cancer 6 years ago, I was a businesswoman and president of a large independent oil company. At age 55, I began experiencing a sharp recurring pain in my chest and my doctor prescribed pain medication. The discomfort continued and I knew something else was wrong, so I independently sought out a full-body scan, which ultimately revealed a tumor on my lung, located by my heart. Due to its location, multiple health facilities refused to perform a biopsy.

Soon after, I read an article about a renowned thoracic surgeon who was establishing a partnership with a local hospital in my area. I made an appointment the next day and was able to have my tumor biopsied a few weeks later, confirming my diagnosis. I underwent chemotherapy and radiation to shrink my tumors, followed by a 6-hour surgery to remove my tumor, and more radiation. During my recovery, I found a new calling – to start the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation to educate others about lung cancer and the need for early detection.

As molecular testing emerged, we’ve made it our goal to educate about the importance of knowing a patient’s tumor type to help guide treatment decisions.

We believe that targeted therapies are the future of lung cancer treatment and have referred countless other lung cancer patients to have their tumor tested, and I am practicing what I preach! Although I was diagnosed in the premolecular testing era, I am now looking into having my tissue tested so I know my genetic profile.

I believe that in addition to great doctors and medicine, support from friends and family is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to treating lung cancer. Recently my daughter has joined me in my mission to help people living with lung cancer. She is the director of The Lung Cancer Living Room, the support group for my foundation. She is helping me show patients and their families that with a spectrum of supporters and the latest scientific research, we can help enhance the lives of those with lung cancer.

November 2011