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White Ribbon Relay Brings Lung Screening Awareness

04 April, 2024

Over the past several weeks we’ve been participating in a relay—a White Ribbon Relay, that is. NCC staff and members have been signing and handing off a white ribbon for Lung Cancer Awareness. Why?  

Lung cancer remains one of the most pervasive and deadly forms of cancer worldwide, with its devastating impact felt by countless families. In 2021 alone, Nevada saw 1,636 new cases of lung cancer; it is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the state.

Despite lung cancer’s prevalence and rate of mortality, the funding and sphere of advocacy for lung cancer is lacking significantly. While many organizations are raising awareness, action to get more people screened for lung cancer and reduce the stigma surrounding the disease is still limited.

The American Lung Cancer Screening Initiative, a screening advocacy organization founded and led by college students, launched the White Ribbon Relay to increase awareness for lung cancer screening. The relay is in collaboration with The White Ribbon Project, which seeks to reduce the stigma of lung cancer. The goal of the relay is to physically unite lung cancer advocates and survivors across the country by having them sign one of the five white ribbons in circulation. 

The White Ribbon Relay route through Nevada:

  • Dr. Chivonne Harrigal, radiologist and lung cancer champion, received a White Ribbon at Lake Tahoe from Idaho to kick off a Nevada tour among our Lung Champions.
  • Next the ribbon came to NCC in Reno, then traveled to Winnemucca where it was transferred to Radiologic Technologist Diane Klassen with Humboldt General Hospital. Diane built a successful lung screening program at her rural critical access hospital. Rural and frontier communities experience additional disparities in lung cancer incidence and mortality due to increased smoking behaviors and limited access to screening and treatment. Diane has been working tirelessly to minimize these disparities in her community. 
  • From there, the ribbon traveled back to Reno and over to Chris Kelly at the Nevada Radon Education Program. While not currently covered within the USPSTF eligibility guidelines, radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and must be addressed as part of the larger lung cancer control conversation. Many lung screening programs in Nevada are working to address this gap by offering discounted lung screening for those individuals who do not meet the USPSTF guidelines. 
  • Next, the ribbon made its way to Las Vegas and Dr. Vishisht Mehta, the Director of Interventional Pulmonology at the Lung Center of Nevada, a division of Comprehensive Cancer Centers. Dr. Mehta is a champion for lung cancer screening and treatment advancements both in Nevada and nationally.
  • While in Las Vegas, the ribbon also visited Dr. Manoj Sharma and Dr. Asma Awan at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Public Health.
  • The Ribbon returned to Reno to visit the Lung Cancer Team at Renown Health and the Pennington Institute for Cancer with Dr. Kathleen Graham and patient navigator Lisa Gardner. 
  • Finally, the ribbon hopped on a plane with NCC Executive Director Cari Herington to make the hand-off to Utah at the Huntsman Cancer Institute Community Advisory Board with Garrett Harding, Associate Director, Community Outreach and Engagement.

Whew! It was an amazing relay and we are so thrilled to have been a part of this nationwide event. Read more about ALCSI’s White Ribbon Relay at

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