Category Archives: Episode

Biomarkers Benefit Lung Cancer Resisters

Jill Feldman and Ivy Elkins
Hosts: Hildy Grossman with Jordan Rich
Guests: Jill Feldman and Ivy Elkins
Two outstanding and determined women share how their lung cancer diagnosis, along with the ability to detect a particular biomarker, EGFR, has had a significant effect on the course of their lives. Biomarkers indicate alterations in your DNA that may drive a tumor. Using biomarker testing, it’s possible to refine diagnostic information to help select treatments to target directly that alteration. Both Jill Feldman and Ivy Elkins have channeled their experience as lung cancer survivors and advocates, to create a patient-centered organization, EGFR Resisters. This organization supports and notifies the EGFR-positive, lung cancer community about the latest information in diagnosis, research and treatment. They encourage us to persevere, and to support continued research to make lung cancer a manageable, chronic disease.



GUESTS: Jacob Sands, MD, and Catherine Meador, MD, Ph.D.

Small cell lung Cancer (SCLC) is often called the smoker’s lung cancer, since it is most often diagnosed in heavy smokers. While this type of lung cancer is less prevalent than non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), it’s more aggressive.

Two dedicated and experienced physicians who specialize in treating lung cancer, Dr. Jacob Sands and Dr. Catherine Meador, offer their fascinating insights about the importance of getting a low-dose CT scan when there is a history of heavy smoking. There are often powerful emotional reactions that accompany a SCLC diagnosis, including fear, anxiety, stigma and guilt. It’s important for patients and medical professionals to address these emotional reactions, assuring that they are reasonable under the circumstances.

New and exciting research offers new prospects to live with SCLC. Diagnostic and treatment options include biomarker testing, targeted therapies, immunotherapy, combinations of drug with chemotherapy, and clinical trials. The conversation in this podcast emphasizes that each person is a unique individual who should not be swept away by statistics.

What if Sherlock Holmes Had Cancer? Innovations in Detecting Lung Cancer

Host: Hildy Grossman Co-Host: Jordan Rich
Guests: Jane Wilkinson, Tarek Fadel, Jesse Kirkpatrick, Christina Cabana

Imagine the scene of a murder. Detectives are called in to figure out how to solve the case. Sherlock Holmes was created by Sir Arthur Canon Doyle. Holmes was the most famous mastermind detective, whose powers of observation led him to uncover clues and evidence that others would miss. Upstage Lung Cancer’s mission is to support research that develops innovative techniques to find lung cancer at the earliest possible time. To date, there are no reliable, easily available and inexpensive ways to do this. We have been supporting a team from MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research who use state-of-the-art research methods that creatively wed science and engineering to discover the presence of cancer. They use nanotechnology to study in real time tiny nano particles that are one hundred to ten thousand times smaller than human cells. This new method has the potential to detect lung cancer during the earliest stages of progression. What would Sherlock Holmes think? Listen to this fascinating discussion to learn more.

“It’s my business to know what other people don’t know.”
-Sir Arthur Canon Doyle, The Blue Carbuncle

Clinical Trials and Tribulations

Conversation with Survivors/Advocates, Physician and Researchers. Clinical trials are research studies aimed at evaluating a medical, surgical, or behavioral interventions. They are the primary way researchers find out if a new treatment, such as a new drug, is safe, effective and works best in certain groups of people. Our outstanding guests discuss the information and misinformation about clinical trials. Two courageous and inspiring women, Diane Legg and Linnea Olson, share their lung cancer journeys with Stage 4 lung cancer. They describe how clinical trials have extended and enhanced their lives, and while not always easy, has given them hope. Massachusetts General Hospital oncologist, Lecia Sequist, MD discusses what criteria she uses to recommend a patient enter a clinical trial while Dr. Basu Roy answers Forbes Magazine’s question, “Why do only 8% of cancer patients in the US participate in clinical trials?”

Clinical Trials are crucial. They offer another option to the menu of standard treatments. Barriers to participation can be reduced by increasing the availability of information, easing access and making trials financially neutral.


Survivors, Advocates, Performers & Scientists Talk Lung Cancer
Host: Hildy Grossman with Jordan Rich, co-host and guest
Guests: Bonnie Addario, cofounder and board chair of GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer; Jacob Sands, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Nian X. Sun, Ph.D., Northeastern University; John Berman, musician, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Our podcast is a tête-à-tête that took place following Upstage Lung Cancer’s April, 2021 concert, “It’s a Small World, Right?” Performers, advocates, lung cancer survivors, scientist, oncologist and a radio personality whose wife lost her life to lung cancer take center stage. They talk about life, facing illness, coping with difficult times and making music. This fascinating conversation illustrates how a zest for life stimulates creativity, innovation and inspiration. Too frequently, conversations about lung cancer are kept in the closet. Hollywood, for example, can change this. Performers could speak out about their own experiences with lung cancer and those of their family to help remove the stigma. This podcast offers the opportunity for survivors, advocates, the medical community and performers to share personal experiences, work and family encounters with lung cancer. The guests highlight how everyone gets sick, no matter where in the world one lives, and the challenge for all of us is to give voice and care for one another.


Facing Curve Balls in Times of Illness
Emcee: Hildy Grossman Co-Host: Jordan Rich

Guests: Ilyse Robbins, Director, Choreographer, Actor, Associate Artistic Director for Greater Boston Stage Company; John King, Deputy Manager–Hudson Theater, NYC, Actor; Leigh Barrett, Actor, Singer, Director

Upstage Lung Cancer is unique in that we are the only lung cancer advocacy organization that uses music and the performing arts to accomplish our mission to create awareness and support early detection of lung cancer research. We are grateful to the professional directors, choreographers, actors and singers who return year after year to help us produce outstanding concerts (check out )

Each of our guests have brought their unparalleled artistic performances to make ULC productions outstanding and so much fun. This podcast is a conversation among three outstanding individuals whose lives have been impacted by the pandemic while the theater was dark. Ilyse Robbins is an award-winning director and choreographer who helped to elevate all of our productions. She’s also associate artistic director of the Greater Boston Stage Company and talks about closing theater doors this year. John King is also an actor and singer who now is deputy manager of a the Hudson Theater in New York. He also shares how the past year’s curve balls have impacted his life. And Leigh Barrett, celebrated actor and singer, discusses the emotional impact of being shut out of an opportunity to connect with audiences directly.

This podcast is inspiring, poignant and meaningful for the message of hope and resilience when what you love most is lost.


What are biomarkers, and why are they important?

Host: Hildy Grossman with Jordan Rich, co-host
Guests: Jill Feldman, Lung Cancer Patient and Activist and Jo Ellen Murphy, PhD, Medical Science Liaison, Foundation Medicine

This podcast suggests that listening to our guests could save your life. Our first guest, Jill Feldman, discusses how, when she was 13 years old, she lost her father and two grandparents to lung cancer within months of each other. Fourteen years later, her mom and beloved aunt also lost their lives to the disease. Then, when Jill was only 39 years old, with four small children, she faced her own diagnosis of lung cancer. Fortunately for Jill, biomarker testing has become more available since she was diagnosed twelve years ago. Scientist, Dr. Jo Ellen Murphy, explains the significance and purpose of biomarker testing, as a way to learn as much as possible about a patient’s cancer. Knowing the specific mutations that are present could help to guide treatment choices by opting for drugs that target a patient’s specific tumor, or drugs that may enhance a patient’s own immune system. Jill was able to benefit from biomarker testing that gave her the best shot at treating her advanced cancer with a drug targeting her EGFR biomarker. Jill’s story is inspiring and important for patients with all types of cancer. She has turned her difficult situation into a way to advocate for others and inspire hope.

Too Young to Get Lung Cancer?

The focus of this episode is to raise awareness and inform the public that young people get lung cancer, too. It’s not just a disease of old people. It’s not a disease tied specifically to smokers. Corey Wood, a college student, marathon runner, and successful mountain climber was diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer at 22, with an unusual symptom. She discusses her experience and shows the fortitude of a remarkable young person with lung cancer. A brief description by Dr. Barbara Gitlitz discusses her research with folks under forty who get lung cancer. Tony Addario, founder and CEO of Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI) discusses global research to determine if there is anything different and identifiable about this group. The new ALCMI epidemiology project just launched in February, 2021. What’s the moral of this story? Lung cancer is often ignored as a diagnosis for younger people, since many clinicians don’t consider this a disease to impact younger people. Understanding this, in order to save lives, age must not rule out a diagnosis of lung cancer.

Celebrities: Ah Yes, We Remember Them Well

This podcast celebrates the lives of musicians, composers, lyricists and actors who faced lung cancer. Ron Della Chiesa is our distinguished guest. He’s a member of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the voice of the Boston Symphony Orchestra broadcasts, host of the popular radio show, Simply Sinatra and author of “Radio My Way”. Both Ron and Jordan are well known raconteurs, and their remembrances and witty conversation enrich the celebration of the lives and works of some of our most popular and beloved performers.

Some of the celebrities we share stories and memories of are Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney, Dean Martin, Donna Summer, Larry King, Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock on Star Trek), Ed Sullivan, Leonard Bernstein and more. The works of these outstanding artists are imprinted on our lives, and will continue to provide joy and raise our spirits, well into the future.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” Plato

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Big Pharma – Friend or Foe?

On today’s episode of “Backstage@Upstage,” Hildy talks about the impact of big pharma on lung cancer treatment and health care in general, and the misconceptions that many have about the industry. Joining her are Cheryl Davis, founder of Red Thread Solutions, helping patients better navigate their way through the medical system, caregiver Christie Leonard, mother of five, who relates a moving, personal story of patient advocacy for her late husband, and former pharmaceutical company executive Gary Geipel. All of her insightful perspectives listeners will want to hear. To learn more, visit