LUNG FORCE Heroes
When I had my annual exam with my primary care physician in June 2013, I asked him about having a low-dose CT lung scan. I was a smoker during my 20's and 30's and my Mom died of lung cancer. My doctor was dubious -- I was healthy, had no indication of any problems, and the test wasn't covered by insurance. I asked him to check on the cost and he found out it was $185.
"Let's do it!" I said, and the scan was scheduled. The initial report showed a 1.5 cm "nodular density" that could have been attributed to pneumonia. A follow up in six months was recommended, which showed the same thing. However, the follow-up CT in June of 2014 indicated an increase in the size and a CT-guided needle biopsy was scheduled. On July 2nd of that year, I was told it was malignant.
Strangely, I was not surprised but rather, felt very thankful that it had been caught so early. On July 18, I underwent surgery where my upper left lobe was removed laparoscopically. The cancer had not spread to any of my lymph nodes. I was out of the hospital six days later and back to the office in three weeks.
I will be following up every six months with CT scans. My younger brother came down from Chicago for my surgery. Before he left to return home, I encouraged him to get the scan. Although he smoked very little when he was younger, he agreed. Two weeks later he called me - same diagnosis! Two weeks after that, he had the top lobe of his right lung removed. We're both cancer free and hope to stay that way!
First published: October 26, 2016
American Lung Association is solely responsible for content.
Hero stories are the point of view of the Hero and not necessarily the American Lung Association. The Lung Association does not endorse any specific provider, facility or treatment.