Open Letter to Dr. Oz

The Dr. Oz Show is a daytime talk show hosted by surgeon Mehmet Oz where a variety of different health-related topics are discussed.  On November 29th an episode aired regarding four symptoms that people frequently worry about.  One of the top symptoms was a persistent cough, and Dr Oz assured his young female guest that because she had never smoked he did not think she should worry about having lung cancer.  Does this story ring any bells?  Raise any red flags??  A persistent, dry cough was Emily’s ONLY external symptom of lung cancer.

Emily has written Dr Oz in hopes that he will correct this misinformation that was shared with millions of viewers.  She is just one voice though.  Can you spare one minute to contact Dr Oz and the show’s producers?  We want to request that they dedicate a show to the very real and developing epidemic of lung cancer among young, non-smoking adults.  Do you know someone who works at the Dr Oz show, or perhaps the friend of a friend?  Please make sure that this letter from Emily gets to their inbox!

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Emily & Miles Taylor

Dear Dr. Oz –

My name is Emily Bennett Taylor and at age 28 I was diagnosed with Stage IV non-smokers lung cancer.  Bonnie J. Addario of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation mentioned me in a letter to you in December, regarding your segment on Friday, November 29th titled “The Alarmist Guide To The Symptoms You Worry About Most.”

The only symptom I had was a nagging, persistent, dry cough.

If I had watched your show a year and a half ago, before my diagnosis, I would probably be dead.

VballIn June 2012 I was 28 years old and about to celebrate my 2nd wedding anniversary with my husband. We met in college where we were both athletes, and continued to lead a healthy, active lifestyle together after graduation.  I have never smoked a cigarette in my life.  So you can imagine my surprise when I got a chest x-ray for a persistent cough that I thought must be allergies, and my pulmonologist immediately ordered a CT scan after seeing the results.  And then a biopsy.  And then told me I had advanced lung cancer.

I went through eight rounds of chemotherapy, and was lucky enough (and I do mean lucky) to have surgery become an option.  But it wasn’t easy – on February 8th, 2013, my entire right lung was removed in an Extrapleural Pneumonectomy procedure.  A month later, I began 28 rounds of high-dose radiation to my entire right lung cavity.  I battled radiation nausea and fatigue for months, could barely walk, and now go to physical therapy to try to regain the strength that withered away during those months. Today, eleven months after surgery, I am extremely grateful – and again, lucky – to be considered NED (No Evidence of Disease), but not one single day has been easy.5k12w-3301

So you see, Dr. Oz, my life and my struggle are evidence that the face of lung cancer is not what society thinks it is.  We need to raise public awareness.  Sadly, lung cancer is essentially a death sentence at a mere 15% survival rate; a large reason for this is the lack of early detection due to misconceptions about who is at risk.  Misconceptions that were, unfortunately, propagated by your show.

The fact is that lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer in America.  It kills more than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined.  Yet, due to the stigma, it is the ignored cancer and is drastically under-funded and consequently under-researched.  More and more non-smokers like me are being diagnosed, and we need to know why and how to treat these people.

BJALCF13-6742

For most new diagnoses, as I’ve learned the hard way, it has nothing to do with cigarette smoking. That is why the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation is working to find a genetic marker in lung cancer, much like the BRAC gene for breast cancer.  Personally, my new dedication in life is to raise lung cancer awareness and funds so that we can find a genetic component and attack the root cause of lung cancer.

As a doctor, I know your main objective is to help people and save lives. That is why I would love the opportunity to help you correct the dangerous misinformation that was provided in your November 29th show.  Together we can save a life like mine.  I’ve included my website so that you can read up on my story; it was just voted into the “Top 9 Lung Cancer Blogs of 2013” on Healthline.com.  I have been able to connect with and help so many fellow patients, but I would love to continue that work through your show.

Much love.  Live in the moment.

Emily “EmBen” Taylor
embenkickscancer.wordpress.com

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12 thoughts on “Open Letter to Dr. Oz

  1. Just wrote to him and I really hope he listens to all of the letters written to him about you. You have also changed the way I teach health. My students are more knowledgeable due to your story!

  2. Keep trying and do not give up! the old cliche “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” is true. We have to be heard and listened to when it comes to our health issues. Like LC, carcinoid is very ellusive and not taken seriously by doctors and medical personnel. A friend of mine died because her doctors told her that her issues were due to “women issues” when in reality it was carcinoid cancer and too late. I might as well add thyroid cancer too, as I have been battling that and carcinoid. No doctor would listen to me. All that is required to check the neck is a simple ultrasound but in this country they try to medicate first.
    Keep the faith!
    Angel Conicelli

  3. Pingback: The Signs on Your Face in the Opinion of Dr.Oz

  4. I would love to write in to the show and support you. Please tell me where to write and to whom I may attention it to. My email is AGrossman124@yahoo.com. I am very upset with how misinformed the public is due to his statement and in general I would love to assist in any way I can. I loved someone very much with LC and will do whatever I can. Please feel free to contact me. Thank you very much.

    Sent from my iPad

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    • Hi Alicia – you can click on the hyperlink in the second paragraph of the above post about contacting the Dr Oz and it takes you directly to the show webpage for you to submit comments. Thank you for your support!

  5. Well-said, Emily. I personally believe that you would be a perfect guest for the Dr. Oz show. I am quite sure that many lives would be spared by re-education. Your story has opened my eyes. Keep up the good work.

    Blessings to you!

    Margie

  6. Have you considered contacting the people from Steve Harvey to see if they have any connections to producers or show runners at Dr. Oz? I am going to put this out to the contacts I know and see what I can do.

    Best, Azar

    Sent from my iPhone

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  7. Message to Dr. Oz sent. Thanks, EmBen… For those of you doing the same, you may have to adjust your compatibility view…I had problems on the first try.

  8. Good luck on getting Dr. Oz to correct his misinformation! I and several fellow neuroendocrine tumor (NET-cancer) patients have tried several times to have him correct his comments about Steve Jobs’s cancer being pancreatic, when in fact, it was PNET or pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer. It is so different than the more common pancreatic cancer. We’ve had no luck but hopefully you will! It is so important to get this information out there–especially about young lung cancer survivors like you!!!

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