Though Jerry hadn’t smoked since 2011, at his routine physical his doctor suggested he should get a CT scan. “She told me it was dirt cheap as far as medical exams go, and that it would take only a few minutes and since I had smoked for forty years, even though I had no other indicators, she thought I should get it.”

A low-dose CT scan is a diagnostic test that takes multiple images of your chest. For anyone with a history of smoking, this is the only way to catch lung cancer early, when it is most curable. In fact, if lung cancer is caught before it spreads, the likelihood of surviving five years or more after diagnosis improves to 63%. Unfortunately, of the 14.2 million Americans who are considered high-risk for lung cancer, only 4.5% were screened in 2022. Jerry knew his history put him in the high-risk category, so he decided to get scanned. And the results were not what he expected.

“My lungs were fine, but they discovered a lump on my thyroid and moderate to severe calcification in my heart. After the thyroid was declared benign, my doctor recommended getting a stress test to check my heart.”

Jerry had always been a hard worker, who traveled and worked 13 hours days, as well as participated in a variety of other activities. He had never shown any symptoms that suggested he needed to slow down. But his stress test said otherwise. “I failed miserably, even though I had no symptoms,” he said. The doctor sent him for another test which indicated that he has less than 10% flow through all the major arteries of his heart. “I had open heart surgery the very next day,” Jerry said. “They told me if I hadn’t caught it, I would have had a heart attack.”

“It was shocking. I would have never caught it without that CT scan,” Jerry continued. And he is not the only one in his friend group who has been saved by this simple scan. “I have two friends who had a CT-scan, and it caught their lung cancers very early on when they could be removed. No chemo and no radiation needed.”

Since his surgery, Jerry has felt nothing but gratitude for the scan that saved his life, and he is striving to get the message out to others. It’s fast, it’s inexpensive and it’s so easy. There is no reason that people shouldn’t be doing this,” Jerry said.

“I would have never known, there is no other test that would have identified the problem. It saved my life, so I think it is so important to spread the word. If you’re eligible, get a CT scan for lung cancer."

If you or a loved one may be at high risk for lung cancer, take the eligibility quiz at today.

Freedom From Smoking Clinic
Detroit, MI | May 29, 2024