Category Archives: Episode

Have You Heard Of Biomarker Testing? If So, How To Get It When You Need It

HOST: Hildy Grossman, Co-Host: Jordan Rich
GUESTS: Anthony Sireci, MD, and Hilary Hammell, MD

In this podcast, we ask the question, “Along with an accurate cancer diagnosis, why is comprehensive biomarker testing so important? Our guest, Dr. Anthony Sireci, vice president of clinical biomarker and diagnostics development at Loxo@Lilly, has devoted his career to biomarker testing and development. He shares his interest in precision medicine and talks about what inspired him to get involved in this field. He helps us understand why comprehensive biomarker testing is so important when considering treatment options for cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Our other guest, Hilary Hammell, is a physician herself, and has been diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer. She shares her own experience about learning she has the RET positive biomarker. She adds that knowing her own biomarker guided her to a treatment that helped to “save her life.” This episode is important for understanding how precision medicine works, how it’s different from other current treatments, and how patients and their families can address comprehensive biomarker testing with their physician. With this fascinating and informative conversation, the question remains how to increase patient’s access to biomarker testing.

How in The World Does Our Immune System Work? Immunotherapy 101 for Lung Cancer

Immunotherapy is a cutting-edge treatment for lung cancer. Learn all about it.
HOST: Hildy Grossman, Co-Host: Jordan Rich
GUESTS: David Barbie, MD, Oncologist, Dana Farber Cancer Institute

We often hear about our immune system, but outside of science class, few of us understand how it works. Whether your last brush with science was high school biology or you are a career scientist, there is much to learn from Dr. David Barbie. He discusses the role our immune system plays as a protector against infection, and how understanding the immune system’s mechanisms of action has led researchers to develop immunotherapies to treat cancer. He also answers how advanced lung cancer patients and their treatment team choose among chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy. This is a podcast you will want to be sure to listen to.

ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE IN RURAL AND BLACK COMMUNITIES    Understanding Common Barriers and Overcoming Hurdles

GUEST:  RAYMOND OSAROGIAGBON, MD, FACP, Director of the Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program at Baptist Cancer Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

Many of us living in urban areas have some awareness and experience of barriers to healthcare, but we seldom consider the obstacles that face people living in rural areas. This is especially true where lung cancer is involved. Our guest, Dr. Osarogiagbon began his career in lung cancer in the 1990s, and at that time, a lot of folks questioned his decision to focus on a disease where life expectancy was so poor. He shares with us what inspired him to work with overlooked poor, rural and black communities. He also discusses the importance of research, what his research is currently focused on and where it continues to develop. Dr. Osarogiagbon talks about the impact of geography on a person’s health. For example, his practice is in Memphis, Tennessee, in the heart of the Southeastern US, where the lung cancer burden is the greatest and where outcomes tend to be the worst. The complexities in identifying and treating people with cancer in rural areas can have a substantial impact on health outcomes. Dr. Osarogiagbon also discusses some of the similar issues experienced by black communities in rural and urban areas. This is an important conversation you won’t want to miss.

Changing Failing Grades for Lung Cancer Screening Removing Barriers to Screening Can Save Lives

HOST: Hildy Grossman, Co-Host: Jordan Rich
GUESTS: Jacob Sands, MD, Oncologist, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Andrea McKee, MD, Chair of Radiation Oncology, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC)
In previous Backstage @ Upstage podcasts, we’ve discussed the importance of low dose CT scans to detect lung cancer early. Both of today’s guests are dedicated to helping to make lung cancer screening available for all who are eligible. Dr. McKee initiated “Rescue Lung, Rescue Life,” a program to broaden access to lung cancer screening without cost to patients. She discusses what prompted her to start this program at her own center and her work to make this program available throughout the country. Dr. Sands discusses the low percentage of people nationally who take advantage of lung cancer screening—only about 3%! Here in Massachusetts, we are leading the pack, but the percentage of people getting scans is only 17%. We all agree these are failing grades. We need to do better. This podcast is an important conversation about what opportunities we can create to help save lives. Years ago, lung cancer was seen as a death sentence. Now, lung cancer screening can detect the disease early, when lives can be saved and extended. Don’t miss this fascinating exchange.

Radiation for Diagnosis and Treatment What’s New for lung cancer?

Host: Hildy Grossman Co-Host Jordan Rich
Guest: Francine Jacobson, MD, MPH

Dr. Francine Jacobson discusses the value of screening for early detection of lung cancer. From the perspective of patients and care givers, facing radiation can be concerning. Dr. Jacobson discusses the lowering doses of radiation to help find lung cancer early, with the benefit of identifying and treating the disease at the earliest possible time.
What’s new? There is more understanding of early lung cancer and how to approach it for treatment. Artificial Intelligence is in the news, and now has the potential to predict the presence of lung cancer. New technologies and scanning abilities will help to make lung cancer a chronic disease.
This podcast helps to demystify the process of scanning and treating lung cancer with radiation. This includes addressing fears and scanxiety associated with scans and treatment. The questions and answers raised in this episode focus on the concerns of patients, family members and caregivers.

Asian- Americans face disparities in lung cancer healthcare

GUEST: GLORIA ZHANG, Executive Director of Strategic Alliances at New Tang Dynasty

The Asian and Pacific Islander population represents over 30 countries and
contains ethnic groups that speak more than 100 different languages! Chinese-
Americans represent over 24% of the Asian-American population and are the
focus audience for our guest, Gloria Zhang. She is the executive director of
strategic alliances at New Tang Dynasty, an independent, nonprofit television
network that provides a wide range of programs for the Chinese-American
community and around the world. The network aims to educate its audience
about the higher incidence of lung cancer among Southeast Asian Americans
compared to White Americans. In fact, the group with the greatest increase in
lung cancer is with non-smoking women. Be sure to listen to this important
discussion. podcast.

¿Está el doctor? (Is the doctor in?) Barriers to Healthcare for the Hispanic Community


By 2060, the Census Bureau projects that the Hispanic/Latino population will make up almost one third of the US population. In addition, the Hispanic population is a diverse group who trace their heritage to more than 20 Spanish-speaking countries, regardless of race.
Kevin Salinas, MD is a Harvard Medical School student in his final year. His family immigrated from Mexico and they continue to live in a small town in the US. He describes his family background and his focus on issues that face Hispanics in access to health care as well as considerations in receiving care.

Thoracic radiologist, Francine Jacobson, MD, MPH joins the discussion regarding poverty and lack of health insurance, language barriers, cultural barriers and limited access to standard care. For undocumented individuals, there is anxiety about deportation if they access medical treatment.

In our country of diversity, we all grow in understanding how cultures within the general population view lung cancer and treatment. This is a discussion you won’t want to miss.

Wending Her Way to Wellness: Improving the Emotional Impact of Lung Cancer

Hosts: Hildy Grossman with Jordan Rich co-host
Guests: Susan Smedley, Founder, Resilient Souls
Anyone receiving a cancer diagnosis wonders what else they can be doing to cope that isn’t dependent on a physical protocol. Too often medical treatment overlooks the emotional component of diagnosis and treatment in facing lung cancer. Patients undergo the emotional and psychological impact of feeling walloped by their illness, often by experiencing insomnia, anxiety and depression. Our guest, Susan Smedley, was diagnosed with lung cancer when she was 32 years old. She discusses her process of transitioning from the shock of learning she had lung cancer at such an early age, with an 11-month-old child, to looking for healthy ways to cope using mindfulness, joining advocacy efforts and now creating her own organization to focus on wellness while facing trauma and challenging medical circumstances. This uplifting podcast is for everyone to help show how gravitating toward wellness efforts can significantly improve the quality of life.

The Power of Scans: Lung Cancer Screening Matters!

Lung Cancer detected early saves lives.

Hosts: Hildy Grossman with Jordan Rich co-host
Guests: Francine Jacobson, MD, MPH; Dusty Donaldson; Dan Cardigan, MD
Three exceptional guests join the conversation about the importance of lung cancer screening from a medical and personal point of view. Dr. Francine Jacobson is a founding director of the lung cancer program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Health Care in Boston. As a thoracic radiologist, she describes CT scans, what patients need to know about the process of having a scan and what can be learned from them. Dan Cardigan, MD continues the discussion as a primary care physician and also as someone diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. In addition, patient advocate and lung cancer survivor Dusty Donaldson shares her experience of learning that she had lung cancer at an early stage. She tells how that experience has fueled her commitment to spending her life advocating for patients with lung cancer. This is a dynamic, encouraging and convivial discussion you won’t want to miss.

A Journalist Journals His Own Journey: TV reporter, Bill Shields’ Own Lung Cancer Story

Host: Hildy Grossman Co-Host: Jordan Rich
Guest: Bill Shields, Journalist and TV Field Reporter
Bill Shields has had a celebrated career as a Boston area broadcaster for over forty years. Originally from Texas, Bill began his career at a local TV station before moving to Boston for a job at WBZ-TV where he happily spent his career after falling in love with the city. Ten years ago, Bill was diagnosed with Stage 3B small cell lung cancer. He describes how he was successfully treated at the time and lived cancer free until last year when he received a new diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer. Bill describes his cancer journey, his experience as a reporter and how important humor is to living a full life. Bill’s own words show his grace, humanity and ability to find joy in life, no matter the hardships. You’ll hear why he’s so beloved by all who worked with him and all who watched him on the news.