Lorraine Cannizzaro, a former smoker with a 35 year smoking history, had asthma since she was a child. In 2013, she was struggling to push herself to get things done, she had difficulty breathing. She went to her pulmonologist, Dr. Barbakoff who recommended that she participate in the Lung Cancer Screening Program at Mather Hospital, since she met the age criteria and previous smoking history required to be eligible for the program, there was no out of pocket expense for the screening.
Lorraine met Eileen Zaoutis, nurse navigator for the Lung Cancer Screening Program. The whole process took one-half hour. The scan itself was less than five minutes. The scan revealed that she had nodules on her lung. A subsequent biopsy indicated that the nodes were cancerous. Lorraine had quit smoking 15 years prior – she never thought she had lung cancer.
Dr. Brevetti surgically removed her left upper lobe, and all the surrounding 15 lymph nodes. Chemotherapy was required to make sure the cancer didn’t spread to the other side. Within a month, she went back to work. Lorraine follows up with her oncologist, Dr. Li Pera.
“People don’t know how important it is to be screened ahead of time,” said Lorraine. “I’m just so grateful that mine was caught in time.” Lorraine explained that Eileen was constantly following up with her to make sure she was feeling fine. “Eileen was my go-to person and she was always there for me, along with my supportive family,” said Lorraine.
Lorraine is happy that she can breathe when walking from her home to her car without having to stop. She was really struggling before her surgery. Lorraine credits Mather’s Lung Cancer Screening Program with saving her life.