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Greenville Lung Cancer survivor featured in "Cosmopolitan"

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

More people die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. But an ECU grad beat the odds and lived to tell about it.

Now, her inspiring story is hitting the national newsstands.  Taylor Duck was already featured in the "New York Times" and this month she has a full-page spread in Cosmopolitan magazine.

Life is pretty good for the 26-year-old. She's cancer-free, newly married and has a full-page spread in a national magazine.

"It's given me an opportunity to speak and to change lives and to break the stigma and to almost be the face of what lung cancer is," said Duck.

But it's been a long journey to get here. During her freshman year of college at ECU, Taylor noticed her toes and feet were often numb. Doctors couldn't figure it out why. A year later, she went to the emergency room for what she thought was a ruptured appendix. That's when doctors found a mass in her lung.

"Of course nobody wanted to say lung cancer because they didn't think it was possible in a 21-year-old, never smoking, division 1 college athlete," said Duck.

Surgery saved Duck's life. But many others with lung cancer don't meet the same fate. Of all the major cancers, lung cancer is the number one killer but also the least funded. Only 15.5% of patients survive. That's why Taylor is making it her mission to get rid of the stigma and share the facts.

"70 percent of the newly diagnosed are either never smokers or former smokers and quit decades ago," said Duck.

If her story helps just one person, Duck says it's worth it.

"We lose 160,000 people a year to this disease. That's equivalent to a jumbo jet falling out of the sky every single day, all year long. That to me is unacceptable and for a 15.5 percent stagnant survival rate for the last 40 years we all have to do our part to speak up and make a difference and raise awareness for this disease"

If you want to read Taylor's full story, you can pick up a copy of this month's Cosmo.

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