World Lung Cancer Day: Celebrating Lifesaving Lung Cancer Screening
Music has the power to transform situations and people. It evokes memories that were made when we first heard our favorite tunes or motivates us while we create and accomplish new goals.
LUNG FORCE Hero Milli W., a 62-year-old mother of two and a grandmother of five can relate to how transformative music can be. With her favorite song being "At Last" by Etta James, this dynamic vocalist knows the power of a great song. She was also reminded how much it meant to her the day she was diagnosed with lung cancer and thought she may never be able to sing again.
While watching TV one night, Milli saw a woman in the “Saved By The Scan” PSA climbing up a mountain of cigarette butts. Intrigued by the visuals, Milli listened closely to the message about lung cancer risks that were being shared with her in the PSA and began to think about her mother and brother who were both diagnosed with lung cancer and succumbed to the disease.
Today on World Lung Cancer Day, the Lung Association is celebrating three years of the “Saved By The Scan” campaign and the power of lung cancer screening to save lives. “Saved by The Scan” has helped nearly 500,000 Americans, including Milli, learn if they might be at high risk for lung cancer since 2017.
A low-dose CT scan is a special kind of X-ray that takes multiple pictures as you lie on a table that slides in and out of a machine. A computer then combines these images into a detailed picture of your lungs. A study on early detection of lung cancer found that the low-dose CT cancer screening test can reduce mortality for those at high risk and survival rates are close to five times higher when lung cancer is detected early. However, only 4.2% of those eligible for the scan have been screened.
“I never thought that lung cancer was something that could happen to me; even though I smoked for more than 40 years and I had family that died from it. I was in denial,” said Milli.
After seeing the PSA, Milli took action by requesting a low-dose CT scan with her primary doctor. Her scan was done in March of 2018 and in April she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Milli had no symptoms and no idea this was happening inside of her body. She was diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer and immediately began working with her doctors to create a treatment plan.
The doctors removed a six-centimeter mass from her right lung, about the size of a make-up compact. Milli recalls, “Not only did Saved By The Scan save my life, it gave me a new voice.”
Today, Milli celebrates and sings, “I am a lung cancer THRIVER!” She is truly a living example of how screening can save lives.
There’s never been a better time to learn about lung cancer screening. If you're a current or former smoker and between the ages of 55-80, you could be at high risk for lung cancer. To see if you’re eligible for a low-dose CT scan, visit SavedByTheScan.org.
Blog last updated: July 31, 2020