Pamela H.

photo of Pamela H.

The first thing I asked my new PCP was to order this scan. I don't know how I knew about it, but at long last there was a screening test that was approved by insurance. I was a heavy smoker for many years and had quit 11 years before. I had lost my dear sister to small cell lung cancer several years before; the risk was real to me.

I was in a just-in-case mindset when I went for the scan, so I was truly stunned when told "something" was found. I was sent for a PET scan and the diagnosis was Stage 1B adenocarcinoma. I didn't have to be told the statistics - sadly I knew all too well. Today I am almost two years out with an excellent prognosis. My surgeon removed a lobe from my left lung and there was no need for any other treatment. I have a yearly follow up with my pulmonologist and an oncologist as needed.

I am humbled by my good fortune. When I was in the hospital recovering from my surgery, my nurse told me that the surgeon was at the station discussing my case, shaking his head in wonder, and telling them I had the scan "on a whim". That pretty much sums it up. I cannot begin to think what the outcome would have been if I had waited a year until my next physical. Tell everyone - as I do - get the scan.

First published: November 22, 2019