LUNG FORCE Heroes
I didn't even feel sick. All I had was a cough--a cough that just wouldn't go away. Because I had never smoked no one suspected lung cancer. It wasn't until seven months, four wrong diagnoses, and one lung biopsy later that I learned the worst. I had non-small cell lung cancer. By the time I had surgery I had a baseball-sized tumor in my right lung.
But really, I was one of the lucky ones. My doctor ordered genomic testing which showed that I have the ALK gene mutation. I was put on medication to turn off the gene causing my cancer. It has been almost five years now and I continue to take medication and I feel fine. Genomic testing is on the cutting edge of cancer research. Every day, thanks to the ground-breaking research supported by the American Lung Association, new medications are being developed. It seems like every time I have needed a new breakthrough it has just been made, sometimes only a month or two before. How blessed is that!
Please spread the word that genomic testing is an absolute must when diagnosing lung cancer. And let's start a new campaign to get the ball rolling on early detection. Too many stories start like mine. Early detection is the key to better outcomes and longer lives for us all.
First published: March 15, 2017
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Hero stories are the point of view of the Hero and not necessarily the American Lung Association. The Lung Association does not endorse any specific provider, facility or treatment.