Michelle H

Michelle H., KS

My name is Michelle Hills, I was diagnosed with Stage IV ALK Positive Lung Cancer in September, 2018.  For months I struggled with an increasing dry cough that was misdiagnosed by multiple physicians because I had no known risk factors for lung cancer. No one was looking for lung cancer in a 51 year old competitive athlete.  When I was hospitalized with pneumonia the CT Scan was “indeterminate”.  The pulmonology team opted for a biopsy as they suspected a fungal infection. We were all very surprised when the pathology report was finalized.   My initial biomarker panel revealed no treatable mutations and a course of chemotherapy was recommended.  The prognosis was grim.  I obtained a life saving second opinion at a Comprehensive Cancer Center that sent the biopsy for comprehensive biomarker testing.  At this point the ALK mutation was identified and I started targeted therapy.  My cough immediately resolved,.  

To this day I continue on my first line of therapy.  Advocacy is important to me as I’ve learned through the years that lung cancer is a silent epidemic.  It is the least funded of all cancers with the highest mortality rate.   

First Published: November 12, 2019

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