Advocacy

Mesothelioma Survivor Joins Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Efforts

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May 05, 2022
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Written By: Tim Povtak,
May 5, 2022

As a contributing writer for The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com, mesothelioma survivor Tamron Little has worked wonders in raising awareness and inspiring so many others with her positive, never-quit attitude.

Now, she’s set to take it to another level.

Little will be participating in the celebrated Cancer Moonshot Goals Forum on May 11 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. There she will mix with senior White House officials and members of the newly formed Cancer Cabinet, which is made up of leaders of a host of government agencies tasked with addressing cancer.

“I am so grateful, thankful and appreciative of this opportunity to bring more awareness to mesothelioma and educate others about this lesser-known cancer,” Little said. “This is the perfect opportunity.”

Cancer Moonshot Forum Gathers Survivors, Experts

Cancer Moonshot is a federal initiative first launched in 2016 by President Joe Biden when he was serving as vice president in the Obama administration. It was reignited with considerable fanfare earlier this year and is aimed at aggressively speeding up research, lowering the cancer death rate and improving quality of life for the millions living with, or recovering from, all types of the disease.

This invitation-only, all-day event on the White House grounds is designed to generate new ideas through discussions among members of the oncology community and those affected by cancer, helping move the country closer to changing the face of the disease.

Little will be joined by others in the private sector at the Cancer Moonshot Goals Forum, including health care providers, leaders of academic institutions and foundations, and other survivors.

Members of the Cancer Cabinet will provide updates at the event on the whole-of-government approach to the Cancer Moonshot. One of its ambitious goals is to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years.

“As a cancer survivor, you may think you are one small person with a voice that won’t be heard, but your voice can be heard,” Little said. “My goal has always been to make a difference, spread awareness and provide hope for others – to patients, families, caregivers – and to keep on pushing and stay the course.”

Survivor Helps Spread Mesothelioma Awareness

Little was invited to share her survivor story, which is unique in so many ways. She was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma at an unusually early age and early stage, only because a routine ultrasound late in her first pregnancy alerted doctors to a growth inside her abdomen. She was 21 years old at the time.

A few months after giving birth, Little underwent extensive cytoreductive surgery, hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy and intensity modulated radiation therapy, an aggressive combination of mesothelioma treatments that stopped this cancer with no cure.

Three more children and 15 years later, she will be spreading awareness at the White House.

Her surgical oncologist, mesothelioma specialist Dr. Edward Levine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, has called her “a walking miracle.”

Early detection – one of the pillars of Biden’s Cancer Moonshot program – was critical to Little’s future as a mesothelioma survivor.

“The higher-ups want to hear more about the people’s stories and to bring more awareness to these different types of cancers,” she said. “This is about raising awareness of mesothelioma, but also of asbestos exposure, the cause of the disease.”

Inspiring Others with Her Story

As a proud mother and ordained minister, Little has been especially active in her quest to help and inspire others in many ways. Earlier this year, she worked with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Oncology Center of Excellence Rare Cancers Program, representing the mesothelioma community at a patient advocacy meeting. She is scheduled for another session with the FDA in October.

In 2021, Little was part of the American Cancer Society’s “Get Screened” campaign, which is designed to encourage regular cancer screenings and spark early detection, when treatments are more effective.

She has been the featured participant in virtual health forums sponsored by The Mesothelioma Center, sharing her story and offering advice to newly diagnosed patients.

In addition, Little was a speaker on a body image discussion panel sponsored by Stupid Cancer, a nonprofit organization in New York City that is a leader in young adult cancer advocacy.