Dr. Joe Stilwill discusses how the low-dose lung cancer screening is improving and saving lives

Dr. Joe Stilwill discusses how the low-dose lung cancer screening is improving and saving lives

Dr. Joe Stilwill discusses how the low-dose lung cancer screening is improving and saving lives

By Bryan Wright 0 Comment October 11, 2019


(progressive music)
– The American Lung Association says more than
234,000 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. It is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women, more than colon, breast, or even prostate cancer combined. Amy Anderson talked with a woman whose life has been affected by
cancer far more than most. – I’m just takin’ it step by step, day by day
(laughs) – [Amy] Elaine Hernstrom
just beat lung cancer. She beat it four years after
she beat breast cancer. – I had surgery and chemo, and radiation. – [Amy] And last year
Elaine lost her husband, Dave, to lung cancer. It was a hard-fought battle for him. – He did the treatments up until when he couldn’t do them anymore. – [Amy] It was while Dave was fighting his cancer the doctor
who had been treating Elaine for her emphysema recommended a scan. That’s when they found a spot on her lung. Doctors watched it for six months and once they discovered it was growing they went in for a biopsy to see exactly what they were dealing with. – There were three options: It could be metastatic breast cancer, of course, it could just be lung cancer, or it could be nothing. – [Amy] Turns out Elaine
had stage one lung cancer. Lung cancer is rarely diagnosed before it’s stage three because there are no symptoms before then. Elaine, despite having cancer again, had been given a break of sorts, but the timing could not have been worse. – I was supposed to see the surgeon the day that Dave went into hospice, so I had to put that off. – [Amy] A week after Dave passed, Elaine went in for surgery. The good news was they
got every bit of it, and she didn’t have to
endure any further treatment. – [Amy Norton] She’s very, very strong. – [Amy] Amy Norton was
Elaine’s nurse navigator, as she’d been for Dave, just weeks before. – But for somebody like Elaine, she’s been through so
much, with losing Dave and then being diagnosed,
I was really concerned about her, and so it was
kind of a thing where I would just call and check in, and “how’re you doing?” – [Amy] Though she didn’t have Dave to help her through
this battle with cancer, she had her mother, who took her to all her treatments. And she had her team at the
Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Menorah, and she made it. Her team credits early detection for saving her life. – The real key to us is finding it early when we can act in a
more aggressive fashion and cure it. – [Amy] And you are able to cure it if it’s found early. – Absolutely. The majority of patients
who have early-stage lung cancer are cured of their disease. – [Amy] Just another reason why if you have a family
history of lung cancers or are a smoker, you might want to make screening a part of your medical care. It could save your life. – And if you can get a
patient into the mindset that screening is just
a preventive measure, it’s just like a mammogram, it’s just like a colonoscopy. For these specific
patients, these lung cancer screenings can save their lives by catching the cancer well before there are any symptoms. – [Amy] Amy Anderson. – Elaine is a former smoker. Doctors stress if you
smoke, you should quit, but keep in mind, lung
cancer is not something that hits only smokers. The American Cancer Society says as many as 20% of cases of lung cancer are people who have never smoked, and for more information from HCA, be sure to download the KCTV-5 news app, just click the link for Better Health under the Better KC tab.

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