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Pat Griffin – Lung Cancer Success Story

Breath of life

Pat Griffin – lung cancer success storyLow-dose computed tomography (CT) scans are catching lung cancer early at Methodist Richardson Cancer Center.

When Pat Griffin sat down to thumb through the Shine magazine that had just arrived in the mail in spring 2015, she had no idea it would save her life.

An article about lung cancer caught her attention. It said if you want to beat cancer, you have to catch it as early as possible. It went on to say Methodist Richardson Medical Center was offering low-dose CT scans to help do just that.

Pat was concerned, because she and her husband, Dave, had smoked a pack a day for decades. Both had lost their mothers to lung cancer, so the article featuring low-dose CT screenings grabbed her attention.

“I told my husband, ‘We have to do this. It’s worth it to find out,’” Pat says.

Catching cancer early

Both Pat and Dave met the high-risk criteria for the screening (see “Do you qualify?” on the right), so Pat called their primary care provider and asked for the necessary referral. Within a few days, she and Dave had appointments.

Pat says the CT scan was a breeze, but she wasn’t prepared for the phone call that came the next day. The nurse told her Dave’s scan was clear, but there was a problem with hers.

“I was shocked,” Pat says. “I thought it would be Dave who had an issue.”

The next step was a biopsy to confirm that the spot on Pat’s lung was indeed cancer. She braced for the news, which came sooner than expected.

Within a week of her diagnosis, Pat experienced trouble breathing.

She was admitted to Methodist Richardson and immediately scheduled for surgery to remove the lobe of her lung with the cancerous tumor.

“Most lung cancers aren’t discovered before they have spread,” says Sam Bibawi, MD, FACP, medical director at the Methodist Richardson Cancer Center and oncologist and hematologist on the hospital’s medical staff. “Pat was very fortunate. The screening detected her cancer at a very early stage.”

Staying in touch

Pat Griffin – lung cancer success storyPat was diagnosed with stage I non-small-cell lung cancer. She was relieved to learn that she did not need any further treatment, like chemotherapy or radiation, but she follows up regularly with Dr. Bibawi to make sure she is in the clear.

“I have faith in God and faith in the doctors that they will take care of me,” Pat says.

As for that magazine, Pat still has it. She says she saved it because it saved her.