Clark's Cancer Journey
Participating in the lung screening program with Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center allowed Clark to catch his cancer at an early, and more treatable stage. Now the 72-year-old Colorado native is back to enjoying an active life.
In November 2014, Clark visited his primary physician for his annual exam and while the doctor listened to his lungs, he heard a wheeze. Due to Clark’s history of smoking, the physician ordered a lung cancer screening.
Janet Bridges, RN, BSN, OCN, a nurse navigator specializing in thoracic health at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center, worked with Clark to schedule his low-dose CT lung cancer screening in early December. The results warranted a lung biopsy which revealed that Clark had Stage 1 non-small cell lung cancer, a very common type of lung cancer.
Following his diagnosis, Janet guided Clark and his wife through all tests and appointments specific to Clark’s cancer journey.
“When you walk in after a cancer diagnosis, you are scared to death,” said Clark. “Janet is a fantastic lady. She just takes your hand and says, ‘let’s go.’ She was there for my appointments and was our rock through the process. She knows the medical system inside and out, and really took care of us.”
A few weeks after initial diagnosis, Clark was introduced to Dr. Richard Parker, cardiothoracic surgeon at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center who performed the lung segmentectomy surgery to remove the cancer from Clark's right lung.
Dr. Parker educated Clark and his wife about the risks and benefits of the surgery. In the case of Stage I lung cancer, the surgery was likely to be the cure –avoiding the need for chemotherapy or radiation.
“Dr. Parker is a stupendous individual and just a fantastic guy. We had a few meetings with him before the surgery and he explained the surgery and gave us recommendations for next steps,” said Clark.
Clark’s surgery to remove his lung cancer was completed in February 2015. With a speedy recovery and only a month after surgery, Clark was back to enjoying an active retirement with his wife, three children and three grandchildren. He even shoots pistols professionally and travels around the United States for competitions.
“If someone has cancer, Sarah Cannon at HealthONE’s Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center is the place to go. The hospital is a first-class operation with top-notch staff,” said Clark.
Clark knows he will remain on surveillance for the next few years and must continue to visit his physician for regular appointments. However, the lung cancer screening program caught his cancer early, when surgery was an available and curative option for him.
“There was not one bad experience in the whole ordeal. The Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center staff that I encountered could not have been more professional. Despite having cancer, it was a fantastic experience,” said Clark.
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