In early December 2018, Andrew McPhedran was diagnosed with advanced, Stage 4 lung cancer. At age 54, a life-long non-smoker, and otherwise healthy and well, this was truly unexpected and devastating news.
To all who know him, Andrew is kind and approachable, generous with his time and energy. He’s always been more than willing to talk with and help others, but would never ask for help for himself. He’s a cherished brother, son, father, husband, colleague and good friend to many. He’s also the life of the party. So as one might expect, he is coping with the news in his usual fashion – stoicism, philosophizing, and humor.
His cancer is EGFR positive – a genetic change more common in non-smoking people who develop lung cancer, and something directly targetable with several drugs. The newest, osimertinib (Tagrisso) developed by Astra Zeneca, works for almost double the time of the older drugs, with fewer side effects. This is the drug his Oncology team is pushing hard to get for him. Unfortunately, because it is a newer and very costly drug, it is not funded at the moment. A $9000 a month, this is a steep cost for anyone.
This campaign has been launched to assist Andrew with accessing Tagrisso. While the cancer is too advanced to cure, this drug will extend our time with him. Also, by sharing his story, we can raise awareness and start conversations about a few issues, such as the stigmas surrounding lung cancer (especially in non-smokers), and the challenges faced by patients trying to access new cancer drugs. We hope that conversations now will lead to changes in the future.