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A Personal Story: Lung Cancer Screening Saves Lives

Nov 30, 2021
A Personal Story: Lung Cancer Screening Saves Lives
Screenings save lives.

Annie Collum, BSN, RN is the Senior Manager, Physician Liaison at Radiology Imaging Associates. She took time to end this month on a very personal note because the topic of Lung Cancer Awareness and Screening means a lot to her. Thank you for sharing, Annie.

During Lung Cancer Awareness Month, we know the importance of screening and wellness checks. But when it hits close to home with family, we want to make sure we get the word out to everyone we know so we can save lives.

Throughout the month, we have been sharing with you the importance of lung cancer screening. With her permission, I would like to share my sister Robbie’s story about her journey with lung cancer screening. She feels it is important for me to share her experience if it could help even one person make the decision to get screened.

One of the concerns with lung cancer screening is potentially detecting incidental findings that may be unimportant and lead to unnecessary workup. Well, in this case, one of those incidental findings saved my sister’s life.

Robbie went in for a low-dose-CT lung cancer screening in August 2020. Her family physician had offered to order the lung screening. Robbie wasn’t having any lung issues, but they both agreed that she should have the screening because of her smoking history.

Her physician ordered the low-dose-CT lung cancer screening, which was covered 100% by her insurance plan. The logistics of setting up the scan were simple and straightforward. The ease of scheduling and the fact that it was covered by insurance made the decision to have the scan done quite easy.

When the results came back, Robbie was pleased to hear there were not any issues with her lungs. They did, however, find a “spot” on her kidney. After a follow-up ultrasound and CT with contrast, it was determined that she had a tumor on her kidney that needed to be removed.

Robbie had surgery in October 2020 to remove the cancerous kidney tumor. When I asked if she had anything to add to this post, she said: “I wasn’t having any issues with my kidney. If I had not had the lung screening and had waited to become symptomatic with my renal cancer, the outcome might have been different. The tumor was 4 centimeters, and pathology indicated no cancer in lymph nodes or the arteries, and so I’m cancer-free!”

Please keep my sister’s story in mind when you are contemplating having any type of screening exam. Early detection is the key, and I am so thankful it caught Robbie’s cancer so early!