Early Detection Key to Helping Man with Lung Cancer

At the first sign of illness, many people,—men in particular—say to themselves, “It’s nothing, I’ll be fine.” Not so for lung-cancer survivor Jim Larner. “The thing that probably saved my life, was that I didn’t let this go,” said the 82-year-old from Annapolis.

It had been nearly 20 years since Jim had kicked his smoking habit, and other than an occasional cough, he felt fine. “Then one morning, when I coughed, I coughed blood,” he said. “As soon as that happened I called my primary care physician.”

Jim’s doctor referred him to AAMC pulmonologist Ira Weinstein, MD, who discovered that Jim had stage 3 lung cancer. “When I first heard I had cancer I was angry at myself, because I knew what had caused it. I said to myself, ‘Are you satisfied? You asked for it, you got it.’”

That was in 2008. Jim was 78 years old. After his diagnosis, an interdisciplinary team of cancer specialists, led by oncologist Peter Graze, MD at the DeCesaris Cancer Institute, gathered to review Jim’s case and determine the best course of action to save his life. With a nurse navigator helping to coordinate Jim’s tests and appointments and facilitating communication between the team of doctors, Jim underwent both chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Today, Jim has been cancer free for almost five years, and he attributes his success to early detection and the care he received at the DeCesaris Cancer Institute. “The thing that probably saved my life was that I didn’t let this go. The very day that I coughed blood, I called my primary care physician,” he says.

 If you, a family member or friend smokes or has smoked, a lung screening may be necessary. Learn your risk for lung cancer with our free lung health profiler at askAAMC.org/Breathe. Complete the profiler by August 5, 2016 for a chance to win a $250 Target® gift card.

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