My Story: A Lung Cancer Diagnosis Changes Your Life But It’s Not The End Of It
In 2015, Colette Smith awoke from surgery with her upper left lung removed and was diagnosed with Stage 1a lung cancer. Recently, the 50-year-old New York resident celebrated her one year anniversary of being cancer-free and feels extremely fortunate that she was diagnosed at an early stage, crediting this to the fact that she listened to her body.
According to the 3rd Annual Women’s Lung Health Barometer survey from the American Lung Association’s Lung Force, only 18 percent of lung cancer cases among women are diagnosed early.
Colette shared her survivor story with BlackDoctor.org. Read on and be inspired!
BlackDoctor.org: Is there a history of cancer in your family? Was lung cancer on your radar as something to discuss with your doctor?
Colette: My dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer and about a month after his diagnosis he passed. Lung cancer was never on my radar. In fact, I thought my family had certainly paid its “dues,” as my husband is also a cancer survivor. When my husband had gotten a clean bill of health January 2015 I thought the worst was behind us.
BlackDoctor.org: What were the symptoms you experienced that led to your diagnosis?
Colette: I was having palpitations. I had never experienced that before so I went to the ER. The doctors speculated that the palpitations could be a symptom of blood clots in my lungs and decided on a CAT scan. Thank God they did, for that is when the nodule in my lung was first discovered.