Lung cancer screening by a CT scan saves lives, letter writer says

To the editor:

I’ve lived in Oakville 38 years.

We moved here when Telegraph was two lanes. We built a beautiful, strong community. It is the best kept secret in St. Louis County.

But I want to tell you about another secret. In September 2009, my husband, Ray, developed a cough — a cough that NyQuil could not stop. We found out he was in Stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer. The oncologist told us research was indicating those like my husband who were heavy smokers and had quit 30 years ago were getting lung cancer.

No doctor — and Ray had seen many doctors — ever suggested as much as a chest X-ray. They only congratulated him on quitting. He died July 1, 2010.

In November 2010,  the results of the National Cancer Institute-sponsored National Screening Trial were released. What these trials tell us is if caught early — when lung cancer is small and in its earliest stages before it has any symptoms and before it has had a chance to spread to other parts — lung cancer is a very curable disease.

The take-home message is: Lung cancer screening by a CT scan saves lives.

Dr. Daniel Luedke of St. Louis University goes as far as saying the screening chest CT scan is to lung cancer as a mammography is to breast cancer. But neither will save lives if they are not performed.

I wish all of you a wonderful, healthy and happy retirement and encourage you to get a CT scan now, whether you’re a smoker, nonsmoker or previous smoker. Pay for it with your insurance or pay for it out of pocket. No more Stage 4 lung cancer.

Sandy Monike