Michele B.

photo of Michele B.

I was diagnosed with NSCLC, Squamos, Stage 1B in October of 2017. You cant attach the word fortunate to the biggest cancer killer, but I am one of only 15% to be diagnosed that early in the disease. This is because of a simple scan that takes only 5 minutes to get.

Prior to this day, my only symptoms, being somewhat hoarse and coughing up a small bit of blood upon waking. So, I went to the doctor and he gave me an antibiotic. After two weeks I was still hoarse and could spit up a little blood so I returned to my doctor. He sent me to get a lung scan. Of course, it revealed a mass in the top lobe of my left lung. I then seen a pulmonologist and he ordered a catscan. I was worried but still didn't think cancer. That happens to other people, not me!

Wrong! The catscan confirmed a mass of 3.5 cm and likely malignant. We needed to see if it had spread further so I had another c.t., an MRI, blood work, breathing tests, and of course a biopsy. All of which I did in a robotic blurry fashion. This led to seeing a thoracic surgeon to discuss the removal of the lobe my cancer was confined to. Things became vivid now. Especially the morning I was admitted to have part of my body cut out along with this hideous thing growing inside me! The next few weeks were hard but I recovered quickly with no complications. I also learned that no other areas or nodes were involved. This is only because I had a doctor who sent me to be scanned since I met the criteria of those in the risk category. But many are not in this risk category and are not even near the age of 55 or never smoked. Approximately 1 in 5 actually. The thing is, we routinely have a breast mammogram or visit a gynecologist or have a prostate exam and routine bloodwork checking pda levels to screen for prostate cancer. Also, after age 50, which should be earlier, we are advised to get a colonoscopy. These tests should also include lung screenings every 2 to 3 years. Especially those in or nearing the high risk category and because lung cancer kills more people each year than breast, colon, and prostrate cancers combined. PLEASE, talk to your doctor about early lung cancer screening and learn more about lung cancer symptoms and share this knowledge with your family and friends. Early screening saved my life. It may for you or a loved one.

First published: November 26, 2018