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CU Cancer Center investigator honored for his part in the fight against lung cancer

Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, is the first physician to be honored with the Hank Baskett Sr. Spirit Award.

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Written by Cancer Center on May 17, 2013

An investigator from University of Colorado Cancer Center is being recognized for his contributions to the battle against lung cancer.

Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, director of the thoracic oncology clinical program and associate director for clinical research at the CU Cancer Center, is the first physician to be honored with the Hank Baskett Sr. Spirit Award.  Camidge received the award May 17, 2013, at the Second Annual Hank Baskett Classic Golf Classic at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Hank Baskett Sr. was diagnosed with lung cancer and in 2012 his son, Hank Baskett III, an NFL wide receiver and co-star of a reality television show along with his wife Kendra Wilkinson, created the Hank Baskett Golf Classic to raise funds and awareness for those affected by lung cancer. For the last two years, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation – one of the largest and most successful lung cancer charities – has been the major beneficiary of this event.  Since its creation in 2006, the Lung Cancer Foundation has raised over 10 million dollars to further lung cancer research.

“The most sobering statistic is that the five-year survival rate for lung cancer is only 15.7 percent, and has remained unchanged for more than 40 years,” said Bonnie J. Addario, stage 3B lung cancer survivor and founder of the Lung Cancer Foundation. “We thank the Basketts and supporters of the tournament who are really making a difference in the lives of lung cancer patients, friends and families.”

As a lung cancer survivor and through her expertise, Addario knew Hank Sr.’s response to his treatment was not optimal and she was relentless in making sure he got a second opinion. He was referred to Camidge in Colorado, knowing that he might be a candidate for a targeted drug. Camidge ran a molecular test on Hank Sr. and determined a personalized treatment regime for him. The personalized treatment showed positive results almost immediately.

The Lung Cancer Foundation describes Camidge as one of the leading minds in lung cancer.  When Camidge isn’t treating patients in the clinic, he is working with his research team searching for new and better biomarkers and drugs for patients.

“It’s always rewarding to be recognized for your work,” says Camidge, “But the real reward is seeing patients like Hank Baskett, Sr. benefit from advances in lung cancer treatment. He is taking a targeted therapy that will help him live a longer life with fewer of the side effects often associated with lung cancer treatment. There is nothing better than that for an oncologist.”

The CU Cancer Center’s Thoracic Oncology Program is world renowned for its pioneering treatment of lung cancer. The program includes a multidisciplinary team of specialists and subspecialists working together to establish the best treatment plan for each patient. Advanced molecular profiling of a patient’s tumor, combined with an extensive array of standard and experimental treatments available through clinical trials has led to major advances in patient outcomes in the last few years.

The program’s one-year survival rates for advanced lung cancer consistently run twice as high as the national average. The survival rates at five years run four times higher than the national average. Additionally, the Center’s new Remote Second Opinion Program now offers access to program experts for patients who prefer not to travel.