Montessa M. Lee
NEWS & EVENTS
Team Draft - An Initiative of Chris Draft Family Foundation
Montessa Lee is Changing the Face of Lung Cancer...
On the D.C. leg of Team Draft’s East Coast nationwide tour, we met Montessa Lee of Silver Spring, Maryland. In 2006, she experienced chest pain, followed by shortness of breath and a cough.
A non-smoker, the cause of her problem bewildered doctors, who ultimately diagnosed her following a chest x-ray that confirmed she had advanced small cell lung cancer.
From Self Magazine‘s Lung Cancer Report:
“Anyone who has lungs can get lung cancer,” Montessa Lee stresses. She hopes her case will serve as a wake-up call for medical practitioners to learn to look beyond their assumptions when making a diagnosis, which is why she recently completed training to speak at National Lung Cancer Partnership events. The organization’s Look Deeper campaign aims to make women aware of the signs and prevalence of lung cancer—knowledge that, until better screens or a cure are discovered, is our most powerful weapon in fighting the disease.
Read more of Montessa’s story at Self Magazine‘s website. (see below link)
A Women's Health - Faith, Family & Friends
One young survivor describes the resources that have seen her through...
Montessa Lee was 28 years old when she was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer in December 2006 after two misdiagnoses. At the time, the special education teacher from Silver Spring, Maryland, was healthy and active, having never encountered a health challenge more serious than seasonal allergies.
Now she found herself facing cancer treatment at a time when most of her peers were focused on careers, relationships, and family. For Montessa, whose family lived in North Carolina, the experience illuminated what was of real value in her life and showed her what she could truly count on.
Turning to her faith and to loved ones, she found strength to cope. “I turned to the only thing that could bring me through that storm: my relationship with God,” Montessa says. “I joined a cancer support ministry at my church, which I am still a part of today.” In addition, she found support in family, who traveled back and forth from North Carolina to offer support, and in friends who truly came through for her.
Learning whom she could really count on and what she was capable of, Montessa says, has been transformative. “I have learned how to truly value life and friendships. I found out what makes a true friend—one who will be with you through thick and thin—and I have learned that I was stronger than I ever thought I was.”
Read full article of Montessa's story click right here link:
United States Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP)
Ms. Montessa Lee: I am a lung cancer survivor and I am here to give this disease a voice...
I was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer at the age of 28 - an x-ray revealed a 15-cm mass in my chest. I didn't smoke and I wasn't around smokers, so I wondered where the cancer had come from. When I began to research lung cancer, I became painfully aware of the grim statistics. I learned that research, prevention efforts, and treatment for our disease were grossly underfunded. Furthermore, the disease is attached with a stigma (smoking). I wondered why - when we see strides being made for the advancements in treatment of other cancers - our five-year survival rate had not changed much in the last 15 years. I became enraged by the lack of hope for the lung cancer community resulting from a shortage of prescreening techniques, the shortfall of research funding, and the low survival rate. My anger has metamorphosed into a passion. Three years later, I am still alive! I am a survivor and I am here because I have to give this disease a voice. I must fight for those who were taken from us by this disease, like my paternal and maternal grandfathers, the young 19-year-old student studying to become a teacher, and others I have heard about on this journey.
Read more of the press release of this story click right here link:
Advocate Montessa Lee: 'Let's Dispel The Myth That Only Smokers Get Lung Cancer' - Women's Health Magazine (WH) BY MONTESSA LEE AS TOLD TO ALISON GOLDMAN - FEB 12, 2020
"I was a nonsmoker—something I tell people along with my diagnosis, because I know they’re going to ask."
Women are more likely than men to have their symptoms dismissed or downplayed by medical professionals. When they get a diagnosis, they often face stigma and judgment. In light of this, WH created the “Owning It” package—which spotlights various women with complicated and often difficult-to-diagnose conditions who decided to take a stand for their health. Our hope is that their stories help empower women everywhere to advocate for themselves and get the care and attention they deserve.
Doctors misdiagnosed me twice before figuring out I had small-cell lung cancer. I finally got an X-ray after I went to the ER for coughing and stabbing chest pain, and they discovered a tumor the size of a cantaloupe covering three-fourths of my lung. It was 2006, and I was 28 years old. I was also a nonsmoker—something I tell people along with my diagnosis, because I know they’re going to ask.
When my oncologist first told me I had small-cell lung cancer, I looked it up and learned the five-year survival rate was 7 percent. I had to take time off from my job as a special-education teacher during my treatment because of the high levels of chemo and chest radiation I was receiving, as well as the resulting fatigue I had to deal with. I had nothing to do during chemo and radiation, so I sent messages to legislators, asking for research funding. I went to a lung cancer research summit in 2008 and started networking and speaking on panels.
At first, I did all of this because I was mad. I wanted others to know that young people who are not smokers can be diagnosed with lung cancer and deserve research to help improve the outlook. Then, when I learned that cancer is deadlier for African Americans, I was angry about that too. Overall, about 161 people out of 100,000 die of cancer each year. But for African Americans, that rate is 185.6, higher than for any other race.
A lot of the disparity has to do with health-care access, and I’ve recently started to talk about this more with people I know. Patients should be getting the same care wherever they go, whoever they are.
Read more the press release of this story click right here link:
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