It’s Simple…Just Do What’s Right!

A Cancer Battle We Can Win – NY Times Op-Ed – 

So grateful to NY Times for posting this!

Just a few things about the NY Time Op-Ed article I posted above that I need you to read. It’s important and could affect some of you…you just don’t know it yet. When mom was diagnosed with lung cancer she was Stage IV. Unfortunately, most lung cancer symptoms don’t present themselves until the cancer is in the late stages. Not all, but most. So there was no true way of knowing she had it until it was too late. There aren’t any real “screening” methods to detect lung cancer. Though she lived four years with the disease, she was, essentially at the end of the fight, climbing uphill.

This op-ed piece supports using a low-dose CT scan to detect early stage lung cancer. It’s recommended (by several medical organizations) as a way to screen for lung cancer in high-risk people. Because, well, you know, lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer and more women die of lung cancer than breast, ovarian and uterine cancers combined.

Mom just a few months AFTER she was diagnosed; posing with Univ of Kentucky's head women's basketball coach. Did she LOOK like she had lung cancer?

Mom just a few months AFTER she was diagnosed; posing with Univ of Kentucky’s head women’s basketball coach. Did she LOOK like she had lung cancer?

This CT screening can help reduce the number of people who die because it can detect lung cancer sooner, rather than later. This screening isn’t a “cure”; just a detection method, like mammograms or prostate exams. I’m pretty certain it would have helped if mom had known years earlier so we would have had time to do something about it. Not saying she wouldn’t have died, just saying she would have had a little more time to do more. Lung cancer in the late stages doesn’t give you much time.

So here’s the catch….this CT screening is expensive. Very. Which means not many, especially those without insurance, can afford the screening. Some hospitals offer free screening, but not all of them. And some medical professionals think screening is unnecessary and a waste of money. What we want is simple…we want (CMS) Medicare to cover the cost of this screening, because the population of those 65 and older who receive Medicare are the ones who suffer the most (fixed incomes, lack of access, etc.). But critics against screening think that it would cost the government and taxpayers too much money to cover the screening costs. They just think it’s so unnecessary. Really?  Wasteful spending. Really? Too many false-positive results they say…really?  I’m sorry, but I think they should let the families decide what’s “unnecessary and wasteful”.  How about giving US a choice in the matter? Don’t deny us a chance just because YOU think it’s unnecessary.  I’m thinking that those who sit in judgement have yet to experience what’s it like to watch a loved one die knowing there’s nothing you can do about it.  All we want is a chance to choose a screening option that could help us improve our chances to live. That’s all we want. An opportunity to choose. 

If someone you loved had lung cancer, or any kind of cancer, wouldn’t you want them to have access to methods to detect it sooner rather than later? It’s pretty simple really, just do what’s right. 


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