AUSTIN - Today the Texas House of Representatives passed H.R. 2468, by Rep. Jason Villalba, recognizing May 24th as "Texas Lung Cancer Awareness Day". Rep. Villalba's sister, Andrea Lois Rodely, passed away from lung cancer on January 1, 2012. She was born in Dallas on May 24, 1968. She is survived by her parents, George and Naomi Villalba, III, her husband, Jack L. Rodely, and their son, Samuel. She also left behind her brother, Jason, sister-in-law Brooke, and two nieces, Sophia and Elena.
"The fight against lung cancer is personal to me," said Rep. Villalba. "Last year we lost my sister, Andrea, to this awful disease. We miss her every day and wish that we had spotted her cancer earlier so that she would have had a fighting chance to beat it. Early diagnosis and treatment greatly increase chances for survival of lung cancer. Our hope is that through our loss, we will be able to raise awareness and increase the number of lung cancer survivors."
In attendance in the Texas House for the resolution were Angie McClure, Regional Vice President of Development for the American Lung Association in Texas, and Mary Partridge, winner of the American Lung Association's Will Ross Medal. This honor is the highest award given by the American Lung Association to volunteers who have made a significant contribution to the prevention and control of lung disease. The Lung Association has been so very lucky to count Mary among its volunteers for more than 34 years. Also joining in the resolution ceremony was Dathan Voelter from Austin, another Lung Association volunteer and participant in the Fight for Air Climb, which is an event where contestants climbed 31 flights of stairs to the top of the Frost Tower to raise awareness and funds to benefit the cause.
Lung cancer is a devastating disease that can afflict anyone regardless of gender or ethnicity and is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Lung cancer accounts for about 14% of all new cancers. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. Overall, the chance that a man will develop lung cancer in his lifetime is about 1 in 13; for a woman, the risk is about 1 in 16. These numbers include both smokers and non-smokers. For smokers the risk is much higher, while for non-smokers the risk is lower.
Statistics on survival in people with lung cancer vary depending on the stage of the cancer when it is diagnosed and despite very serious prognosis of lung cancer, some people have been cured. More than 350,000 people alive today have been diagnosed with lung cancer at some point. Learning the risk factors for lung cancer and other types of cancers can help improve the odds of early detection.
Rep. Villalba proposed this designation in an effort to call attention to this terrible disease and to help reduce the prevalence of lung cancer among Texans through education about prevention and options for those seeking to lower their risks.