Denise L.

photo of Denise L.

For 3-6 months, I would pass a billboard on the highway as I drove home from work. It was for early detection, lung cancer. The American Lung Association "Saved by the Scan" billboard.

I'd quit smoking a year prior and didn't know there was such a test. I went to my PCP, we went over the protocol but she didn't order it because I didn't meet the criteria. A few months later, I went back, asked again and she ordered it.

I took the CT Scan and next day, received a call from a pulmonologist requesting that I come in immediately. I was very scared. I subsequently had a PET scan, brain MRI and a biopsy. It was malignant but caught early, stage 1b.

I had surgery, removal of left upper lobe and follow up chemo, 4 cycles, 21 days apart. My adjuvant chemotherapy was recommended because I had some high recurrence risk factors.

I knew that since lung cancer was fairly asymptomatic, many people werent diagnosed until late stage, when treatment options were limited. I was a 40-year smoker and knew I was at high risk. I also knew the earlier it is caught, the better.

That billboard on the side of the road saved my life.

First published: November 13, 2018