Novi Bonnie Threet had just returned from her life-long dream trip to Ireland in May, when she got the earth-shattering news: you have lung cancer.
She knew for a long time that she had lung nodules, after a chest x-ray when her left lung collapsed due to a softball injury when she was younger. Her doctor had her get regular check-ups to monitor the
Earlier this year, he noticed something on a scan he thought should be checked.
When Dr. Lawrence MacDonald, chief of Pulmonology at DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, performed a minimally invasive lung biopsy with a robotic-assisted bronchoscopy, he discovered a small section of cancer deep into the lower lobe of Bonnie’s right lung.
‘(It) was a shocker’
“I remember him coming into the room and telling me I had lung cancer – I expected, ‘We have to keep an eye on these nodules again,’” she said. “So that was a shocker.”
Now finished with five rounds of radiation, Bonnie is scheduled for a CT scan Nov. 13.
During Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November, Bonnie’s situation illustrates why people should pay close attention to their lung health, Dr. MacDonald said.
He recently performed the 100th minimally invasive robotic-assisted bronchoscopy located at DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital. Huron Valley-Sinai was one of the first community hospitals to offer the biopsy option in Oakland County.
Lung Cancer Awareness Month
In honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month and in partnership with the GO2 Foundation, the hospital’s Charach Cancer Treatment Center will host its second annual Shine the Light on Lung Cancer event on Thursday, Nov. 9.
From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., guests will receive a gift flashlight, learn about screenings and hear from speakers who will provide support, hope and inspiration to survivors, families and advocates impacted by lung cancer.
“We’re spreading the word that lung cancer is so much more easily treatable when we catch it early, like in Bonnie’s case,” Dr. MacDonald said. “Anyone with a smoking history or other risk factors should talk to their doctor. We can use low-dose CT scans and the robotic-assisted bronchoscopy to help them either with a clean bill of health or by addressing issues we may detect.”
Smokers should get screened
The most recent guidelines from the American Cancer Society, announced on Nov. 1, lower the age that smokers or former smokers should get screened from 55 to 50. They also now recommend people who have a 20 or greater pack-year history of smoking get screened, no matter when they quit, even if it was more than 15 years ago.
Bonnie, who is also a former smoker, said she would like to share her story to inspire others – especially smokers or former smokers – to take charge of their lung health.
More time to make memories
Married for 55 years to her husband, Charlie, she said she is optimistic that her early diagnosis means many more trips to their family cottage Up North in Mio, Michigan, and trips to see their four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
“Definitely be screened,” she said she advises to others. “If they catch it early, you can live. I never, ever thought it would go to cancer, especially in the right lung.”
For more information or to make an appointment with a pulmonary specialist, visit www.DMC.org.
Thank you to Tammy Battaglia for contributing this amazing article to SocialHouseNews.com.