John F.

photo of John F.

Hi. My name's John and I quit smoking in 2007. I had smoked a pack a day for almost 30 years up to that point. In early 2019, my wife and I read an article about low-dose CT scanning. Knowing first hand from experiences with relatives how horrible cancer can be, I talked to my doctor and got the scan.

The scan itself was painless and easy (just lay on the table and relax while the machine does its stuff). I was surprised to find that I had a small mass in my left lung. This mass was just large enough to be of concern, so I had follow up testing with a pulmonologist and then a PET scan. Since I had kidney cancer (and had a kidney removed) the previous year, the surgeon I consulted wasn't sure if it was kidney cancer that had spread or lung cancer. He operated and removed a section of my lung with the mass and had it analyzed. It proved to be lung cancer, so he removed the lower lobe of my left lung to make sure it had not spread. It was stage 1 lung cancer, but because the operation removed it all, I did not have to undergo radiation or chemotherapy.

I consider myself extremely lucky that this was found so early. Yes, the operation was painful and a very serious procedure, but I've seen what radiation and chemotherapy does to people, and I am very grateful to have found this early. I encourage anyone who smoked in the past and meets the criteria for this scan to have it done. At best, you'll have a baseline of your healthy lungs. On the other hand, if something bad is in there, the sooner you find it the sooner you can take action to fix it.

Please don't wait - lung cancer doesn't have any symptoms until it's very advanced. Thanks for reading my story.

First published: November 22, 2019