Step by step, those touched by lung cancer will try to stamp out the disease at an upcoming fundraiser.

Step by step, those touched by lung cancer will try to stamp out the disease at an upcoming fundraiser.

Breathe Deep Columbus, an annual 5K walk and run, will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. June 11 at Scioto Audubon Metro Park, 400 W. Whittier St.

The 5K begins at 9:45 a.m.

Cost to signup is $25 for adults, $15 for seniors 60 years old and older, $15 for students with a valid ID, $10 for children 5 to 13 years old, and free for cancer survivors and children younger than 5. People can sign up at lungevity.donordrive.com/event/Columbus.

Andy Maughan, a junior at Ohio University, is walking with his dad, Brian, a Hilliard, resident who's been cancer-free for 18 months.

"I think first and foremost, lung cancer is something that doesn't get enough awareness," Andy Maughan said. "It really brings a sense of community for people who are there for each other, battling similar situations. It's like a big family."

The event is sponsored by the Lungevity Foundation, the largest private lung-cancer research funder in the nation. It is based in Bethesda, Md.

Lung cancer, which still kills more people than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined, stands in the shadows, even though one in 15 will be diagnosed with the disease.

Dr. David Carbone, director of the thoracic center at the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, said recent advances in treating lung cancer are giving patients hope.

"I've been treating lung cancer for my whole professional career, about 25 years," he said. "When we started we had only chemotherapies that had negligible impact on survival."

Patients once given six months to live now can expect three to five years of life, "which is not a cure, but a dramatic improvement," Carbone said.

Early detection gives patients a better chance at survival, he said.

At the James, for example, those who are considered high-risk for lung cancer can get a computerized tomography, also know as CT, screening that is covered by medicinal insurance and Medicaid, Carbone said.

Genetic testing has made significant advances, showing that some cancers were driven by certain genetic switches and mutations. Therefore, newer medications "can turn the switch off with great efficacy and tolerable toxicity," Carbone said.

Immune therapies have shown great promise in shrinking cancers, while 90 percent of patients have shown no side effects "and the benefit lasts a long time," he said.

More optimism: The Food and Drug Administration has approved six lung-cancer drugs this year.

"There were many years there were no drugs approved for lung cancer," Carbone said.

Robotic and arthroscopic surgery techniques, otherwise known as minimally invasive surgeries, have cut hospital stays down to three days in some cases, he said.

Yet, one of the challenges with lung cancer is 70 percent of patients don't seek treatment until the cancer has spread, he said. Part of that is because of the body itself.

"It can present in a lot of different ways but the fact is the ends of your lung have no nerve endings," Carbone said. "You can get a softball-sized lung cancer and you wouldn't know about it."