IU Simon Cancer Center doc swaps white physician's coat for shorts, running shoes

INDIANAPOLIS -- (Sept. 4, 2007) -- Dr. Nasser Hanna will swap his white physician's coat for shorts and running shoes for the upcoming Lungs for Life 5K Run/Walk and One-Mile Family Walk.

A lung cancer specialist with the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, Hanna and hundreds of others will lace up their shoes and either run or walk in the fourth annual event, which begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29.

The event begins in front of the Indiana Cancer Pavilion (535 Barnhill Drive), at the corner of Michigan Street and Barnhill Drive. The race's course travels through the IUPUI campus and White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis.

Hanna and his wife, Amy, established Lungs for Life as a way to raise awareness about lung cancer and its impact on Hoosiers. Last year, more than 4,500 Hoosiers were diagnosed with the disease.

Cigarette smoking and the use of other tobacco-related products is the cause of approximately 90 percent of lung cancer cases, according to Hanna. For most people, by the time they discover they have the disease, it's not curable.

And a lot of Hoosiers light up. Currently, 27 percent of Hoosiers are active smokers, ranking Indiana as the second heaviest smoking state surpassed only by Kentucky.

Hanna said 87 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer will die from it. In fact, lung cancer kills more Americans than any other cancer. The statistics are startling: The American Cancer Society expects 213,380 new lung cancer cases this year with 160,390 deaths. Between the sexes, 114,780 men are expected to develop lung cancer, while 89,510 will die from it. For women, 98,620 new cases are expected this year and 70,880 women will die from it.

Overall, lung cancer will kill more people than colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer -- the second-, third-, and fourth-leading cancer killers -- combined.

Despite the prominence of the disease, research dollars for lung cancer lag behind other cancers, thus, the need for funding, which Lungs for Life accomplishes with the annual run/walk.

To date, Lungs for Life has raised close to $50,000 that has been donated to the IU Simon Cancer Center for research. During this year's race, Lungs for Life expects more than 1,000 people to participate and more than $50,000 to be raised for research.

Registration remains open for the Sept. 29 run/walk. If you register before Sept. 14, the entry fee is $20, and you receive a free shirt and book bag. After Sept. 14, the entry fee is $25. Children 12 and under are $10; kids in strollers are free.

A special opening ceremony honoring those with lung cancer and those who have died from lung cancer will precede the race. Other activities include a raffle, silent auction, educational displays, and kids' activities.

For more information and to register online, visit www.lungsforlife5k.org.