Cathy's Lung CT StoryMay 28, 2019
Dr. Ben McDaniel, radiologist at Shelby Baptist Medical Center
When Cathy Brown went in for her low-dose lung CAT or CT screening in October of 2016, she wasn’t expecting much. She didn’t see the need for the screening, but had agreed to get the scan at her primary care physician’s insistence due to her age and smoking history. Even though Cathy had previously been a smoker for 50 years, she hadn’t smoked for several years, had no trouble breathing, and no other major signs and symptoms had presented themselves.
“ I did it to appease my doctor, but having that CT scan was the best thing I ever did,” said Cathy. “That 10 second CT saved my life.”
When a suspicious spot showed up on Cathy’s scan, she was called back for a more in-depth radioactive scan to see if the spot was cancerous. It was. Cathy had lung cancer.
Dr. Ben McDaniel, a radiologist at Shelby Baptist Medical Center, and the physician who found Cathy’s cancer, stresses the importance of taking advantage of the low-dose lung CT scan. “If we had not caught Cathy’s cancer, she might not be here now. This low-dose CT is crucial for the early detection of lung cancer.”
After multiple tests and consultations, Cathy had surgery to remove the upper lobe of her right lung just a couple of weeks after her cancer was found. Since the cancer was caught so early – it was still categorized as stage 1a – it had not spread, so Cathy was able to avoid chemotherapy or radiation treatments following surgery.
“My experience has been fantastic throughout this whole process – from the first CT to my follow-up appointments,” said Cathy. “The staff was great and alleviated all of my fears. I was nervous and they made everything better. They understood that I was just diagnosed with cancer and they were very caring, loving and professional. I was a nurse for over 30 years, so I know what it’s like, and they went above and beyond with my care. They were doing more than just their job.”
Cathy is now feeling great and back to her normal life, but with a passion for sharing her story and the dangers of lung cancer.
“God blessed me. He really did,” said Cathy. “I’m thankful for each day that I’m alive. I know that if my cancer wasn’t caught when it was, I probably wouldn’t be here right now. I have a new awareness of life, family . . . and everything else. My goal is to spread the word about lung cancer. Many of my relatives in other states have gone for CT scans now. If I can just save one life by encouraging early screening then I would be happy.”
A low-dose lung CT scan is a quick and painless screening for lung cancer. The scan can save lives by detecting lung cancer before symptoms develop. The low-dose lung CT scan is offered at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center and Shelby Baptist Medical Center. If you are interested in a low-dose lung CT scan, contact your primary care physician to see if it is an option for you. Medicare and many insurances cover lung cancer screening for patients who meet the criteria.