In the fall of 2013, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset was running a promotion advertising on the radio. On my way home one night I actually paid attention to the ad. "Come in and for $99, have a lung scan," the ad said.
I had no real symptoms other than a persistent, annoying cough but decided I should get the scan just to be sure. I called the number in the ad and confirmed I had smoked 1 pack a day for 30+ years, was told I needed a prescription and I was given an appointment. The lung scan was read and issues with my lungs identified but I was told everything for the moment was fine and to return in one year to follow-up.
The follow-up scan in 2014 again indicated nothing urgent and I was advised to do another follow-up in 2015. In the meantime, I was introduced to the Quit Center at the hospital and enrolled in the Quit smoking program and quit smoking Labor Day weekend 2013. With the follow-up of 2015, the scan showed a nodule increased in sized and appeared to be malignant. In January 2016, I had the upper lobe of my right lung removed at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. My cancer was declared Stage 1B and I required no chemotherapy or radiation. I credit this with the early detection of my cancer thanks to RWJU Somerset and the skill of the surgeon at the Cancer Institute.
My recovery was speedy thanks to the minimally invasive procedure used by the surgeon. I have received wonderful care from the medical community at the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital including the Somerset Hospital and the Cancer Institute. If I had one wish it would be that people get a prescription, get a scan and STOP SMOKING. Lung cancer is no longer the death sentence it once was considered. There are major treatment advances being made especially if caught early.
First published: November 20, 2017