LCFA is saddened by the news that Francis (Frank) Noll, Jr, on January 22, 2023, after living with lung cancer for 8 years. An avid painter, runner, biker, and kayaker, Frank shared his story of how his lung cancer was diagnosed back in January 2019.

Lung Cancer Diagnosis After Cycling Accident

Falling off your bike can actually save your life. So goes the story of Frank Noll’s lung cancer diagnosis. Frank, an avid runner, hiker, and biker passionate about exercise, was on a training ride when he fell off of his bike. When he regained consciousness, he found himself in the hospital with no memory of what had happened. Instead of broken bones, his CT scan revealed a mass in his lungs and lymph nodes. Frank, a never-smoker who exercised regularly, had inoperable stage 3B lung cancer.

Frank’s physicians told him the median survival expectation was four to six months and that only 5% of patients would live beyond five years. He and his wife of over forty years got their affairs in order, created his will and, one week before beginning treatment, planned his funeral.

Back on the Bike: Advocacy and Exercise After Lung Cancer

That was just over four years ago (or as Frank recalled, 4 years, 2 months, and 11 days). Today, following an aggressive chemotherapy and radiation protocol, Frank is free of disease.

“I am so blessed. I often ask, “why me” not in the context of getting lung cancer, but “why me” as in how was I so lucky to do so well. If I hadn’t taken that spill off my bike, they never would have found my lung cancer. I feel so exceptionally fortunate.” – Frank Noll

When Frank received his diagnosis, he decided to speed up his impending retirement from the New York City Department of Education where he worked as a physical therapist with children with disabilities. Although he is no longer “employed”, he has a robust new career: lung cancer advocate. He brings the same energy to advocacy as he does to exercise. He’s already participated in 5 events in his beloved hometown of Brooklyn, New York. Frank also serves as a life support mentor for lung cancer patients. He has forged a strong friendship with former NFL player Chris Draft, who devoted his life to raising awareness and research dollars for lung cancer after losing his 37-year-old wife to the disease.

Throughout his treatment, Frank has continued with his lifelong exercise regimen of biking and running. Though he is no longer leading his biking group, he is thrilled to feel this strong exercising after lung cancer.

“When people see me, they tell me I look good. I feel as healthy and strong as I ever did. Each scan I have had has come back N.E.D. (no evidence of disease)…my biking group now greets me with a warm, “Hi, Ned!”– Frank Noll

It is through advances in lung cancer research and treatment that Frank was able to beat his diagnosis. Recent advances in lung cancer detection are increasing 5-year survival rates – most especially for those diagnosed before the cancer has a chance to spread. Find out if you should have a CT scan for lung cancer.