I had an uncle who died from lung cancer and a sister who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008. I had been a pack a day smoker for probably 35 years at that point. My uncle's death and sister's diagnosis scared me and I quit smoking in April of 2008. I am going on 10 years as a non-smoker!
Over the last couple of years I began walking to the point it almost became an obsession. I was doing 5-7 miles daily and loving it. Felt I was in the best shape I'd ever been in.
My sister ended up with bone cancer and died in April of 2017. Shortly after she died I started hearing about the low dose CT screening. I went in for a physical in October and aced my blood work and bone density. No shortness of breath, no cough, no symptoms of any kind. I asked my primary care provider what he thought about the lung cancer screening. He told me his mother had died from lung cancer and that if he were me he would do it. So I had him schedule it for me.
Turns out I had a small tumor in my left upper lung. I had a PET scan which did not indicate any spread. On 11/20/17 they removed my entire left upper lobe. All of my lymph nodes were negative! I was stage 1. I will be followed closely for five years, but my surgeon is confident my cancer is gone.
If you wait until you experience symptoms your prognosis will be much grimmer. There are no words to express how grateful I am to have had this test. I would encourage everyone who fits the criteria to get checked.
First published: December 19, 2017