I recently heard that three friends my age, who had stopped smoking at about the same time as I, had been diagnosed with lung cancer. We are all in our mid-70s, and stopped smoking in...the mid-70s.
Because of this, I requested that my primary care physician order a chest X-ray for me. Although she stated she did not think I needed one, at my insistence, she wrote the order. I proceeded from her office to X-ray the same day. A day later, she called to tell me that they did see something on the film and that I should get a low dose chest CT scan, which I did. The scan showed a very small spot, too small to biopsy, according to my doctor.
She suggested I return in 3 month for another CT. I did, and the spot hadn't changed, so I am to return for another in a year. We are watching it closely. It is so very important to insist on a chest X-ray, even if you are free from symptoms, because by the time you have symptoms, it could be too late.
If you've ever smoked, or were brought up in a family that did, or even if you didn't, but were exposed to smoking at your job, or at a bar or restaurant, you could still get lung cancer. I feel fortunate to have caught this so soon. Even if it turns out to be nothing serious, better to be safe than sorry.
First Published: October 26, 2016
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