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you dont have to be a smoker to get lung cancer


David63 - Barnet

Barnet - Wed, 16 Nov 2016

I have only been recently diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic non small cell adenocarcinoma of the (right) lung. I tested positive for the ALK gene and am taking Xalkori an oral medication. At this point I have had no side effects from this drug.
I do not smoke nor have I ever been a smoker so this was a surprise to me as I was under the mistaken impression that only smokers or people exposed to toxic carcinogens were at risk.
Since I have been diagnosed I have been trying to get the word out that this is a deadly misconception. I was seeing my PCP for shortness of breath, tightness in my chest, hoarseness and a persistent cough. I was diagnosed with bronchitis/asthma and given an antibiotic (to no effect) and an inhaler for several months before I became so short of breath I couldn't walk across the room, so I booked an appointment, the doctor sent me to have an x-ray at hospital and they found that I had a pleural effusion. I was sent to drain the fluid (1.5 liters) and have it analyzed. It came back positive for malignant cells and I was then sent for a CT scan which showed a tumor on my right lung. I had a PET scan that revealed the tumor was contained to the right lung. I underwent a VATS procedure to drain (2 liters) and seal the pleura and biopsy the tumor. They did a genetic marker test on the tumor and it revealed a defective (ALK) gene.

I would just like to get it out there that you don't have to be a smoker to get lung cancer.

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