Up to the Task

t’s been five years since we lost Madison Magazine editor Brian Howell to lung cancer, and sadly the disease is still killing as many Americans in a year as it was then. So many people we met during Brian’s illness, including families and friends of survivors and the lung cancer medical team at UW Health, are still struggling to increase research dollars so that more and better treatments will reach patients who on average survive only nine months after diagnosis. Why? Because most cases aren’t discovered until the disease has already begun to kill them. At UW, the clinical side of lung cancer medicine boasts some of the best doctors and technologies on the planet, but the basic science that translates into life-saving drug and radiation therapies barely exists. And hardly anybody is talking about early detection screenings like they do with breast and prostate, even though they’re available. A new task force to raise awareness and money has just formed, and it’s filling with good people like Brian’s wife, Pat, and some city movers and shakers, many of whom have already helped raise hundreds of thousands for the cause. Right now the cause needs $4 million to hire scientists for the new Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research. If you want to help, contact Steve Ramig at 265-3527 or steve.ramig@uwfoundation.wisc.edu. It seems ridiculous to think that Susan G. Komen’s wonderful success with breast cancer awareness can’t be replicated.

Brennan Nardi, editor