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College of Nursing

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Alleviating the Impact of Lung Cancer

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

In the state of South Carolina, lung cancer incidence and mortality rates exceed national averages. It may be surprising to learn that lung cancer accounts for more annual cancer-related deaths than breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers combined and that lung cancer, not breast cancer, claims the lives of more women each year than breast cancer.

The good news is, as early detection improves and treatments advance, patients with lung are surviving longer. However, one missing piece is survivorship support – survivors of lung cancer need access to adequate and appropriate resources and programs to address the many symptoms they experience, even after treatment ends.

At the College of Nursing’s Lung Cancer Survivorship Research Program, we are dedicated to the continued development and testing of high quality, evidence-based programs aimed at improving the quality of life for survivors, family members, and friends, and actively advocating for increased support for one of our state’s most vulnerable, under-served populations.

One of our current research programs is titled Breathe Easier – A Wellness Program.  Breathe Easier is an at-home program designed to increase physical activity through walking and to decrease cigarette smoking over 12 weeks. The program includes personalized guidance through weekly phone calls and daily text messages to support a safe increase in physical activity and cigarette cessation at a pace comfortable for the participant.  The program also incorporates breathing exercises and relaxation techniques to aid in stress reduction and relaxation.  While many survivors of lung cancer have been successful in quitting cigarette smoking, and 20% of new cases occur in persons with no history of ever smoking, there is a need to find an approachable and realistic support program for those wanting to breathe a little easier. 

In addition, we are excited to host a “Train-the-Trainer” 2-day workshop in early December.  For this event, we have 14 clinicians from cancer centers throughout South Carolina and Charlotte, NC who will join us in Columbia and learn how to teach our Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery program that we successfully finished testing in 2018.  This training will allow for the increased reach of our program to other cancer centers and communities and improve support services for survivors of lung cancer across the state.”

For more information about these two programs, call David Gallerani research associate at 803-777-9735 or Karen McDonnell PhD Associate Professor at 803-777-9866.


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