JOSETTE DARCHEZ ASSOCIATION
The Josette Darchez Association has been recently registered in Spain and was established a year after the untimely passing of Josette Helen Marie Darchez who died of lung cancer on 21st April 2012 at the age of 69 - 10 days after being officially diagnosed with Stage IV Non Small Cell Lung Cancer. The co-founders of the Association are Josette´s husband of almost 50 years, Anthony Joseph Gomez and her daughter Charlemagne Sophia Gomez. They believe that due to the stigmatization of having lung cancer, there are not enough awareness campaigns providing sufficient information on the disease and too little resources are being invested into the research of finding effective treatments for lung cancer and advocating for early diagnosis of the disease. Approximately a million people die of lung cancer a year, making it the most devastating cancer worldwide, surpassing the number of deaths for Breast, Prostate and Colon cancer combined. Nevertheless, despite these statistics, lung cancer does not enjoy the same type of awareness and invested research as other cancers which are indeed more prevalent in the general population but do not result in death as often as lung cancer does.
The association aims to reduce the number of premature deaths from lung cancer, and raise awareness on this devastating disease as well as to advocate for a general use of early detection blood tests for lung cancer which are only currently available in the US and in a limited number of pilot projects in the UK. These tests have the potential to reduce the number of deaths from this disease due to their ability to predict the presence of lung cancer in its early stages. Over 85 per cent of lung cancer sufferers are diagnosed in stages III and IV which more or less render the cancer inoperable and in many cases only palliative treatment can be provided.
Perhaps given these dire statistics, many researchers as well as doctors tend to accept the dire consequences of Lung cancer, as many sufferers are unable to be cured, which at least in the case of Josette, resulted in a laissez-faire attitude towards providing any options of easing her suffering - she was basically left to die. Lung cancer in stage IV is virtually impossible to cure and chemotherapy and radiation treatments are normally only provided to alleviate symptoms rather than actually providing long term solutions to the disease. On average, chemotherapy treatment at this stage of the disease tends to prolong life for approximately 6 weeks in comparison to those who do not undergo this treatment. Although there are course many diagnosed with late stage lung cancer, who undergo treatment for months or even years before the cancer gets the better of them.
To this end, the association hopes to research alternative and additional therapies which could help patients in the late stage of the disease by giving them a better quality of life including looking at ways to prevent the onslaught of cachexia which promotes the rapid waste of muscles and ultimately severely reduces the chance of survival. The medical world is nowhere near a cure for late stage lung cancer, however JDA aims to look into what alternatives can be offered to patients who are the terminal stage of the disease in order to ensure that they maintain their dignity and are able to die in peace instead of enduring the pain which many sufferers of the disease are undergoing at the moment. As an association, we feel not enough is being done to research lung cancer, raise awareness amongst the general public about the disease and not enough is being done to encourage early screening of lung cancer. We are not for one minute saying that nothing is being done, but given the fact that it is the biggest killer amongst all cancers, and many people who smoke are not afforded extra health advice in order to ensure they have not contracted the disease, the association has the following aims:
To reduce the number of persons who die Lung Cancer
- Increased awareness of the General Public about lung cancer
- Use of innovative blood tests to detect lung cancer earlier in patients
- Research into the early triggers of lung cancer amongst smokers and non smokers
- Provision and support of additional and alternative approaches to treat lung cancer patients to sustain a better quality of life
- To conduct activities to raise awareness about lung cancer – these will include but not be limited to dissemination of information by website, open forums, conferences, and fundraising activities
- To introduce and pilot an innovative blood test which detects early and late stage lung cancer in high risk patients
- To carry out quantitative and qualitative research on the principal causes and triggers amongst newly diagnosed lung cancer patients
- To provide and support lung cancer sufferers with alternative and natural approaches to their cancer in order to sustain a better and longer quality of life