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Nancy W.

I was a smoker. There - I put it out there. Lots of boomers smoked. Reasons now don't really matter. And I quit. Finally. Successfully. February 24, 2010.

When I visited my primary care doctor on August 1, 2011, it was supposed to be routine. Sure, I was a little "froggy" but that was probably allergies. When she suggested a chest X-ray, I managed to perform the largest eye-roll ever; perfected in my teen-age years. About the same time I thought smoking would be cool.

She called the day after my x-ray to tell me those words no one wants to hear: "We see something". And I just didn't have time. My husband was dying from liver cancer, dammit! Fast forward 45 days: my stage 2 (because of the size and no metastisis) squamous cell carcinoma is gone. 21 lymph nodes gone and all clear. Chemo offered. Avastin therapy offered. I'll pass, thank-you.

Fast-forward 5 years: My annual scan is tomorrow. If I get the all-clear, which I fully expect, I will be in the 50% club. That's the 5-year survival rate for non-small cell lung cancer patients.

So despite my eye-rolling self, that early detection opportunity allowed me to share my story. If you smoke or smoked in the past, ask your doctor for a scan. It could save your life!

First published: October 27, 2016

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