Striving for a cancer free world

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Believe it or not, there was a time when doctors and nurses were allowed to smoke in the nurses’ room and patients were allowed to smoke in their hospital beds. It was really terrifying to find your patient asleep in his bed with a cigarette, or to see large, black burns from cigarettes on their crisp white sheets. That was a long time ago. Fortunately, most hospitals and workplaces are now labeled as “smoke free”. This has become a standard guideline to reduce the number of people who get lung cancer from smoking.

My lung cancer hero is Christine Eastep, MHA, BSN, RN. She is the manager of the Thoracic Oncology Center at OSUCCC – James / The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. It is a standard policy, based on evidence based practice, to try to help every single patient in their clinic to become smoke free and to give them support, trust and above all hope during their lung cancer journey.

OSUCCC – James is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the country. In the thoracic oncology clinic run by Christine, they see more than 100 patients with lung cancer in various stages every day, a significant proportion of whom are smokers. I am nominating Christine for the Lung Cancer Heroes® Award because she is committed to improving the outcomes of lung cancer treatment for every patient and her staff. Christine has supported the proven evidence that every smoker benefits from counseling before beginning their journey to smoking cessation and lung cancer treatment. Christine is committed to sending each of her nurses to smoking cessation classes so that each of them is a certified tobacco cessation counselor.

Christine has enabled her staff to have the knowledge to improve the health and quality of life of any patient during lung cancer treatment. There is evidence that a patient with lung cancer who can quit smoking before lung surgery heals faster, has a lower risk of postoperative pneumonia, and typically has a shorter hospital stay. If a patient quits smoking before receiving chemotherapy or radiation, they will have fewer side effects, such as nausea or loss of appetite, and also have a lower risk of recurrence after treatment is completed. Every patient who is treated in Christine’s clinic is assessed according to the “5 As” of smoking cessation counseling: ask, advise, assess, support and arrange.

Christine is a leader who is committed to doing what is best for her employees and all of our lung cancer patients. Over the past year she was so passionate about helping patients quit smoking that she spearheaded the development of an innovative tool called The Buckeye Quit Stick. Christine and staff at the Thoracic Clinic will complete a pilot study in which patients will be given the Buckeye Quit Stick – a tool they can use to hand-orally satisfy the cigarette smoking habit and aid them on their way to quitting smoking. It also connects the patient to his health team as “Buckeye” via OSUCCC – James / The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Christine’s staff would agree that she is a leader who is compassionate, kind, and a dedicated advocate for every patient with lung cancer. Christine would tell you that getting lung cancer treatment and / or quitting smoking is not an easy way. Christine sees it through the eyes of hundreds of patients every day. President Joe Biden recently visited OSUCCC – James and said, “This place is a source of hope.”

Christine is a bearer of hope. It is an integral part of the OSUCCC – James and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in the Thoracic Oncology Clinic. She is a true heroine of lung cancer. The entire workforce at OSUCCC – James shares the same vision of striving for a cancer-free world. Christine and her staff take on these words and give hope to every patient in the thoracic oncology clinic every day.

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