Lorraine, a former smoker with a 35-pack 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. The Coram resident went to her pulmonologist Dr. Jay Barbakoff who recommended that she have a lung cancer screening. She met the age criteria and previous smoking history.
In 2011 data published from, The National Lung Cancer Screening Trial found that low dose CT screen showed a 20% reduction in lung cancer deaths and is the most effective and safest way to detect lung cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage.
Lorraine’s scan took less than five minutes. It revealed that she had nodules on her lung nodules. A subsequent surgical biopsy indicated that the nodules were cancerous. Lorraine had quit smoking 15 years prior – she never thought she had lung cancer.
Dr. Greg Brevetti, a thoracic surgeon, 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.
“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.”
If you are a current or former smoker, your risk of developing lung cancer may be up to 25 times higher than someone who never smoked. Lung cancer screenings are recommended for people age 55 to 77 years and have a smoking history equivalent to a pack a day for 30 years, and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.
Not sure if you qualify– take the self-assessment questionnaire or call the Lung Cancer Screening Program at Mather Hospital at 631-686-2500.