Lung cancer 5K raises money, awareness and supports survivors

- Did you know lung cancer kills more people than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined?

If you're surprised, you're not alone. That's exactly why a group in the valley is trying to raise awareness.

"For several years I had a CAT scan and it came back just fine. And then one day, Dr. Kuo's office called and said 'you need to come in and talk to the doctor,' and sure enough, it was lung cancer," said Lele Alston.

Represenative Lela Alston is just one of the survivors that came to show support today at the annual Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer 5K.

Thankfully, her cancer journey has a happy ending.

"He operated a month or so later and then I did radiation and chemot therapy, and I'm good to go," Alston said.

The doctor who lead the team she credits with saving her life, Dr. Elbert Kuo, also showed up to the run today. He says he came to promote awareness.

"Awareness leads to more people being aware, more early detection, more detection leads to more funding, more funding leads to more research and more survivors," Dr. Kuo said.

Many other friends and family members gathered to run, raise funds and spread knowledge about lung cancer, something Dr. Kuo says is vital to early detection.

"I think lung cancer unfortunately has always had a stigma that people smoked and did it to themselves, but in reality lung cancer effects everybody," Dr. Kuo said.

With early detection, doctors can attack the cancer sooner, getting to it before it spreads, and giving the patient a higher chance of survival. Adding screening shouldn't be something to be afraid of. 

"Don't be scared, I would say there's a lot of scary stuff all over the internet and all over the media, but I think the key thing is, be strong. Get a strong support system, find a good team of doctors, reach out to organizations like the Bonnie Addario Lung Cancer Foundation which can provide information and support for you," Dr. Kuo said.

A barbecue followed the event for survivor networking and resources.

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