Lung cancer screening and prevention for smokers

A longtime smoker takes advantage of a preventative program which in turn caught her cancer in the early stages.

Gwen McNeil smoked for over 50 years so naturally she was concerned about getting lung cancer.

She finally quit five years ago when she sought out Dr. Cherie Erkmen, the director of the lung cancer screening program at Temple Health.

"Each year I'll do the CT scan to see," said McNeil.

Those yearly CT scans proved invaluable to McNeil this past summer.

"For the past four years I was getting the CT scan and this fifth year is when it showed that I had a mass," she said tearfully.

A mass that was luckily caught very early. All McNeil needed was surgery.

"Well come to find out she was able to remove all the cancer. So no chemo, no radiation. I'm cancer free," she said.

"She went for robotic lobectomy utilizing the most advanced techniques here at Temple for her successful lung surgery, said Dr. Erkmen. "We caught it early enough that she also has a very good outlook for the future, very good prognosis."

Dr. Erkmen suggested that anyone with McNeil's similar background get screened.

"Gwen was a good candidate for lung cancer screening because she had a smoking history of more than 30 years and she was also between the ages of 55 and 80 so these are the main criteria for lung cancer screening," said Dr. Erkmen.

McNeil now affectionately refers to Dr. Erkmen as her hero.

"I just feel blessed," she said.
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