Henry was only 57 when he developed severe back pain. He’d quit smoking ten years earlier and now had a healthy lifestyle. His physician sent him for further testing which showed an incurable lung cancer that had already spread to his bones. If he had been able to get a HeartLung™ scan earlier, the cancer might have been detected sooner, when it was treatable.
Henry* was 57 years old when he and his wife went to Barcelona for a week. It was a fantastic trip, yet he was bothered by some lower back pain during their long walks to explore the city. He brushed it aside; he hadn’t spent so much time on his feet in a long time. It was uncomfortable, but not overwhelming. He decided he should probably get more exercise.
After they returned home to Seattle, he went back to work. The discomfort continued, sometimes more than others. He thought maybe he was having a bout of sciatica issue, a sudden sharp pain that shoots from the lower back down the leg. But his pain was not quite like that.
When his backache didn’t improve, Henry’s wife suggested that he visit his primary care physician. The doctor did not discover anything unusual in his physical examination, so he referred Henry for further evaluation by an orthopedist. Fast forward: After an MRI of his back and a chest CT scan, he ended up with a biopsy of the lung. The results: Lung cancer that had already spread to the spinal bones.
Henry had quit smoking ten years earlier. He’d been working out, eating well, and enjoying life.
Now he faced radiation and chemotherapy to reduce the spread of the cancer and minimize the symptoms. Stage Four lung cancer cannot be cured, with 50% of patients only living for about four months after their diagnosis.
Radiation treatment eased the pain. Chemotherapy brought hair loss and nausea. Henry and his wife went to Mexico after the first round of chemotherapy. It would be their last vacation. In six months, Henry would be dead.
What if Henry had been able to have a lung scan before his symptoms appeared? According to recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, he qualified for an annual lung scan because he had a 20 pack-year smoking history**, quit within the past 15 years, and was between 50 and 80 years old.
It takes several years for lung cancer to become detectable on X-ray.2 By the time it shows up on a chest X-ray, a tumor is often the size of a dime, too late for a cure. However, a low-dose lung CT scan can find a nodule the size of a grain of rice, with a 92% chance of living for five or more years with treatment.
A low-dose CT scan by HeartLung™ is a quick, painless, and non-invasive approach to screen for lung cancer. This type of CT scan uses no dyes, no injections, and requires nothing to swallow ahead of time. All you have to do is remain still and hold her breath for a few seconds when the technician tells you. You can stay in your street clothes while the machine rotates around your chest taking detailed 3D photos. The scan takes less than two minutes and the entire appointment only requires about 30 minutes.
Today Henry would have the opportunity to get a simple HeartLung™ scan at a nearby location. The scan could detect the lung cancer when it was a nodule and quite treatable. At the same time, Henry’s heart, liver, spine, and other organs would be scanned and analyzed for any abnormalities. The HeartLung™ scan uses the latest artificial intelligence technology to send to a radiologist physician for review. Results are usually available within a few hours.
Henry might still be alive and traveling the world if he’d had the option of a HeartLung™. scan. It’s too late for him, but not for others. Don’t wait for symptoms—schedule your HeartLung™ scan now.
* Name has been changed.
**This is the number of packs of cigarettes per day multiplied by the number of years smoked. For example, someone who smoked 2 packs a day for 10 years [2 x 10 = 20] has 20 pack-years of smoking, as does a person who smoked 1 pack a day for 20 years [1 x 20 = 20].
Low-Dose CT Scan for Lung Cancer Screenings. Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, WA. https://www.swedish.org/services/thoracic-surgery/our-services/lung-cancer-screening-program/low-dose-ct-scan-for-lung-cancer-screening (Accessed 3 October 2021) https://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/guide/lung-cancer-stage-i-overview