I Survived: Lung Cancer Survivor Shares Story, Struggles, and Triumph

This week, May 7 – 13, isn’t just a week to celebrate mothers everywhere, but it’s also National Women’s Lung Health Week. This is the fourth annual National Women’s Lung Health Week started by the American Lung Association, to emphasize the importance of taking care of your lungs. Perhaps due to society’s strong emphasis of cigarette smoking being a direct culprit of causing lung cancer, many people who don’t smoke ironically may not think too much about their lung health, since the elimination of smoking helps decrease the chances of getting lung cancer. The truth is, however, whether one smokes or doesn’t, anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.

Lung cancer disease is the number one leading cause of cancerous death in both men and women and additionally, the number of women who die from lung cancer each year has practically doubled in the last 30 years. Despite these startling statistics, lung cancer disease is often overlooked by women, however, LUNG FORCE Hero, La’Kesha Johnson, wants to change that narrative, after having gone through her own experience with lung cancer.

 

Back in September 2014, at just 43-years-old, Johnson originally went to her doctor to have a chest CT scan administered for a non-related issue, when her doctor detected a nodule on her right lung. “I was taken aback…at the time, I considered myself to be fairly young when I was diagnosed,” said Johnson. “Everyone would tell me ‘oh it’s nothing’ or ‘you don’t have anything to worry about since you don’t smoke.’” However, despite being a non-smoker all of her life and having no prior history of lung cancer in her family, Johnson received a second CT scan two and a half months later, where the radiologist confirmed the nodule increased in size.

“It was hard for me,” said Johnson. “I almost felt like I hit a brick wall when I found out, but, I stayed encouraged until I had the surgery.”

In February 2015, Johnson had surgery to remove the nodule and it was afterward when Johnson found out that it was cancerous, but thanks to the early detection, the stage 1A cancer didn’t spread. Given everything Johnson was