Aurora Lucas, a Lung Cancer survivor, was diagnosed with Stage 2A Lung Cancer at age 28.
Doctors Need to Consider Lung Cancer Despite Patient’s Age
They first interview Dr. David Carbone, an oncologyist at The Ohio State University, about the stigma arond what a typical lung cancer patient looks like. Dr. Carbone stresses that “if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer” and that doctors need to consider lung cancer as a potential diagnosis even in young, healthy never-smokers who present with respiratory symptoms.
Later in the episode, LCFA Speakers Bureau member Aurora Lucas shares her story of being diagnosed with lung cancer in ther late twenties. She talks about the difficulty she initially had getting doctors to take her respiratory symptoms seriously:
“The first thing after I told the doctor my concerns about coughing, he said, ‘Everything is okay. Go boil some water and add some honey to it.” And I think I left that office like, what? I just didn’t feel heard.”
Fighting An Outdated Lung Cancer Stereotype
After months of delays, Lucas was finally diagnosed with lung cancer. She now works to educate people that her experience is what lung cancer can look like today – not just the outdated stereotype.
As Mulligan summarizes, appearance can be misleading when it comes to lung cancer. Modern targeted therapies allow many patients to live active lives and maintain normal appearances while battling the disease. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t facing challenges like side effects, scan anxiety, and other struggles behind the scenes.
The takeaway is that anyone with lungs is at risk for lung cancer, regardless of age or smoking status. And just because patients may look well on the outside, doesn’t mean they aren’t fighting a serious diagnosis. LCFA aims to break down misperceptions around what having lung cancer means today.