This week, staff writer Laura Rysz talks with Karen E. Arscott, D.O., M.Sc., about the upcoming Shine a Light Vigil for Lung Cancer, which supports those touched by the disease.
Residence: Waverly Twp.
Professional background: Physician and associate professor of medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Scranton
Title: Co-chairwoman of PA Lung and member of the National Ambassador Council for GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer
Q: How many years has this been a tradition?
A: We began in 2009, so this is our 11th Shine a Light on Lung Cancer event.
Q: Tell us more about PA Lung’s mission.
A: Our mission is to raise awareness and offer support to those touched by lung cancer. Lung cancer is the leading killer cancer; more Americans will die of lung cancer than the next four killer cancers (breast, colon, prostate and pancreatic) combined. Eighty percent of those diagnosed are nonsmokers, and actually 20% have never smoked. The fastest-growing demographic is young women who never smoked. That said, all patients with lung cancer deserve our support. A further mission is to raise awareness about screening; 60% of those diagnosed with lung cancer already quit smoking and may deserve a low-dose CT screening. If we can get people screened and make the diagnosis at an early stage, we can save lives.
Q: What else will be on hand at the event?
A: We will have information available, we will offer our support, and there also will be an award presentation. The first Heroes Among Us award will be given to a wonderful nurse practitioner in our area, Cherrie Bentler, CRNP, MSN, AOCNPQ, who has helped so many people through the cancer journey.
Q: Tell us more about Cherrie Bentler.
A: Cherrie Bentler is a Scranton native. She is a graduate of Mercy Hospital School of Nursing and Marywood University. She received her master of science degree in nursing and nurse practitioner certificate from Misericordia University. Cherrie is nationally certified in oncology and family practice, and she is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the Oncology Nursing Society, the Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society in Nursing and the Academy of Oncology Nurse Navigators. She is a clinical instructor of medicine for Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Her experience includes 15 years in hematology and oncology and 20 years in surgical nursing.
Q: What makes this vigil special for those touched by lung cancer?
A: This is not a fundraising event. This is a place for those touched by this terrible disease to come and feel cared for without stigma. The lung cancer diagnosis carries with it a stigma that is so unfair.
Q: How can you show support to those who have been touched by lung cancer?
A: First of all, if someone tells you that they or a loved one has been diagnosed with lung cancer, don’t ask them if they smoked. If they did, there is no definite way to know that it is linked to their lung cancer, and it immediately blames/shames a person with a terrible disease. If they didn’t smoke, it is still an intrusive and judgmental question that is unnecessary. Visit www.go2foundation.org for more.
If you go
What: Shine a Light Vigil for Lung Cancer
When: Friday, Nov. 1, 6 to 7 p.m.
Where: Lackawanna County Courthouse Square, Scranton
Details: For more information, call 570-342-8874 or visit supportalcf.org/scrantonvigil.
Laura Rysz is the features copy editor and calendar editor at The Times-Tribune and runs the Talk of the Times column, which focuses on local fundraisers and other events. Additionally, Laura curates events online and copy edits print editions of the Life&Times and Weekend Times sections of the newspaper. She is a graduate of Haddonfield Memorial High School, New Jersey, and earned an English professional writing degree with a minor in mass communications from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5228; @laurarysz