SUN CITY, Ariz. (Nov. 10, 2023) – November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, more people die of the disease each year than of colon, breast, and prostate cancer combined. However, if caught early, lung cancer can be treatable.
Evan Benson once lived a life that negatively impacted his health – he smoked everyday and was overweight. Unfortunately, these things caught up with him at the young age of 54, when he was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer in the spring of 2021.
At the time of his diagnosis, Benson was not getting routine health checkups or screenings. While he did smoke and had issues with his weight, he was not expecting to be diagnosed with such a serious stage of lung cancer. Luckily, his cancer was caught early and he was treated at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center at Banner Boswell Medical Center.
Doctors used robotic surgery to remove the cancerous tumor they found on his lung. After that, treatment included four rounds of chemotherapy. A year after his diagnosis, Benson’s successful treatment inspired him to develop a new mindset: “I’ve been given another chance at life – how am I going to use it?”
Benson knew he had to make some lifestyle changes if he wanted to remain healthy. This included changing his eating habits and starting a fitness routine, where he lost 80 pounds. He also quit smoking and scheduled regular health checkups. Now, he says he’s the happiest and healthiest he’s ever been, and he continues to be cancer-free.
Banner MD Anderson operates a comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening program that centers on using low-dose CT to check for the disease in individuals considered at high risk, often even before they show signs or symptoms.
“There are several controllable and non-controllable factors that can put someone at a higher risk of developing lung cancer,” said Dr. Vishangi Dave, an oncologist at Banner Boswell Medical Center. “That includes smoking, of course, but also exposure to second-hand smoke and other toxic fumes, a family history of lung cancer, and outside air pollution.”
“When lung cancer is detected early, it’s at it’s most treatable stage. When it’s not, treatment becomes a whole new ballgame,” said Dr. Brett Broussard, a thoracic surgeon at Banner Boswell Medical Center. “Even if you think you’re not at risk, it’s still critical to play it safe and stay on top of your screenings. We use a range of new technologies for early diagnosis of cancerous tumors, as well as robotic tools during surgery to remove those tumors. In this way, we are truly able to improve one’s quality of life.”
While Benson credits his medical team at Banner MD Anderson for helping to save his life, he strongly encourages people to focus on their health to prevent what occurred to him.
“My treatment process has been quite the journey, and I’m so proud to be where I’m at today,” said Benson. “I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone else. I hope that by sharing my story, others are motivated to check in on their health regularly and schedule their routine screenings. It literally changed and saved my life.”
In order to schedule a lung cancer screening at a Banner MD Anderson facility, you must have a referral from you doctor. Once that is complete, call the following number to schedule your screening:
- Arizona Central Scheduling: 480-684-7500
You can then have the referral faxed to:
- Arizona Central Scheduling Fax: 480-684-7501
More information about the lung cancer screening process at Banner MD Anderson can be found at this link.
About Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center delivers cancer care to patients through the partnership of Banner Health and MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner MD Anderson offers focused disease-specific expertise in the medical, radiation and surgical management of the cancer patient; an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to patient care; access to clinical trials and new investigative therapies; state-of-the-art technology for the diagnosis, staging and treatment of all types of cancer; oncology expertise in supportive care services. For more information, visit www.BannerMDAnderson.com.
About Banner Boswell Medical Center
Banner Boswell Medical Center specializes in heart care, cancer care, orthopedic surgery, physical rehabilitation, stroke care, skilled nursing and emergency care. Banner Boswell is part of Banner Health, a nonprofit healthcare system with 28 hospitals in six states. Banner Boswell’s high-performing team has achieved many recognitions including five Top 100 Hospital awards and eight Top 50 Cardiovascular awards from Truven Health Analytics. Supporting Banner Boswell’s mission of excellent patient care is Sun Health Foundation, which encourages charitable giving to enhance health care delivery. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com/Boswell or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BannerBoswellMedicalCenter.