Awareness • Early Detection • Treatment • Research • Survivorship
Joe Newcomb is Changing the Face of Lung Cancer
LANDOVER, Md. (WJLA) – Smiling and surrounded by his family at the Redskins game on Sunday, you’d never know Marine Corps Major Joe Newcomb is fighting for his life.
“It’s been hell, it really has,” he describes. “It’s very tough on the body.”
Two years ago, Newcomb was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. A photo shows his first day in chemotherapy, and it’s the face of lung cancer you rarely see.
“I’m non-smoker and I was shocked,” Newcomb explains. “I was sure that was not the case, but sure enough, I have cancer.”
There are ads that characterize this disease as smoking’s gruesome consequence, but experts are saying that roughly 80-percent of new lung cancer patients have either stopped smoking or never smoked.
Former Redskin Chris Draft lived this reality.
“My wife Keasha was diagnosed with lung cancer in December of 2010 and out of nowhere,” he says. “She was healthy. She was strong. And she never smoked.”
In her final months, the couple launched “Team Draft,” a charity aimed at helping change the stigma of lung cancer.
Draft’s wife passed away just one year later, and now he’s working with cancer survivors like Newcomb to raise awareness about the disease.
“We are not fighting against lung cancer, we’re fighting for people,” he says.
Even as a war veteran, Newcomb says this has been the toughest battle of his life. His obligation now is helping others.
“Spread the word. Lung cancer is not a smoker’s disease,” he says.