I have been asked to share my story with you. I begins in 2004 when I heard those dreadful words, “you have cancer”. This shook me to my core. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was so very fortunate to have a great medical team and was in very good care. My treatment consisted of a series of radiation over six weeks. Because my cancer was caught early, treatment was successful.
The second time I heard those words shook me even more. This time it was lung cancer. My reaction was “how can this be”? I have never smoked! I did experience secondhand smoke as a child as both of my parents smoked. Also, my husband smoked for the first few years we were married. I also had TB when I was a child and there Is a theory that lung cancer can take hold in an old scar from TB. This is still a controversial theory and needs more research, but former TB patients are considered at higher risk of getting lung cancer. So, with this diagnosis, I found myself questioning just about everything. Why did this happen to me, I have always tried to live a healthy lifestyle. It was just so difficult to believe.
Again, I was in good hands for the treatment of this disease. My treatment consisted of a series of three radiation sessions, and a year and a half later my doctor is satisfied with the progress we have made and there are no signs it has metastasized.
I have been very fortunate and lucky in that both of my cancers were found early and were treatable and had the good fortune of having the resources to get the care I needed. I am not sure how it all would have turned out without my health coverage. Everyone deserves to have the right to be treated for cancer and no one should have to die because they are uninsured and cannot afford medical care.
We also need more research into his frightful disease because the more we know about it the better we can fight it. Regular screening of high risk patients is essential to catch it early when it is treatable.
Lung cancer tends to be the Rodney Dangerfield of cancers (it just don’t get no respect) because so many people believe you would not have lung cancer if you didn’t smoke. We need to change that perception because 10% to 15% of lung cancer patients are never smokers and account for up to 20% of mortalities.