“Should screen for lung cancer”

Name: Susanne Hobohm
Age: 65
What: Operated for non-small cell lung cancer of the adenocarcinoma type.

Susanne Hobohm. Photo: Rebecka Uhlin

“In spring 2012, I offered to be tested as a kidney donor for a relative. If I had not made that decision, it’s highly likely that I would have been dead today. I had to do many health exams and in the last one, a spot was discovered on my left lung. When the diagnosis lung cancer was made, I thought the doctors had made a mistake. After all, I’m a person who takes care of my health. People like me don’t get lung cancer.

We’ve had few cases of cancer in my family. I was counting on a long life and assumed that it was only heavy smokers who got lung cancer. Then I learned that you can get non-small cell lung cancer of the type adenocarcinoma anyway. Of course, it really scared me. But I was lucky; the tumour had not spread and was operable.

I kept after the operation planner to check if they had a cancellation. Just one week after the last examination, I got a time for operation. The lower left lung lobe was removed and I then underwent chemotherapy preventively. Physically, I recovered quickly, but not mentally; it’s taken a long time to have the courage to believe that I’ve been cured.

Now, I encourage everyone in my age to ask for a lung X-ray. And if I see young people on the street who are smoking, I go up to them, and they look at me horrified when I ask them to quit. It’s not reasonable that something as unpredictable as chance should save your life. Healthcare services should really screen for lung cancer in the same way that they screen for breast cancer. It’s strange that it’s not done since it is the kind of cancer that kills the most people.”

Told to: Maja Lundbäck, first published in Swedish in Medicinsk Vetenskap No 1/2018.

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