Kim Hartley, 60, works as a surgical coordinator at Catholic Health's Good Samaritan University Hospital (West Islip, NY). About four years ago, she saw a flyer come across her desk at work for lung cancer screenings. Catholic Health offers lung cancer screenings at six hospitals across Long Island for people who have quit smoking within the past 15 years or who currently smoke.
Because both of her parents had recently passed away from lung cancer, the Lindenhurst, NY, resident decided to make an annual lung cancer screening part of her wellness journey. For the first three years, the results of Kim's computerized tomography (CT) scans were clear. That changed with her annual scan in 2021.
“On her last CT scan, which was 15 years after she quit smoking, we found a 1.1 cm lung nodule in the right lower lobe of the lung,” explains Dr. Sharad Chandrika, Director of Interventional Pulmonary Medicine at Catholic Health, who treated Kim. Following protocol, Kim had a repeat CT scan about three months later in January 2022. The lesion had doubled in size.
“If I was not having these annual CT scans, it would have spread into the chest wall and I would have been looking at a very different scenario," said Kim. "These CT scans saved my life.”
Kim then underwent a CT-guided biopsy of the nodule that showed it to be adenocarcinoma of the lung, a type of cancer that starts in the mucous glands inside of organs like the lungs. Next, a PET scan determined the cancer had not spread anywhere besides the one lesion in her lung—an area that could be removed.”
With no hesitation, Kim scheduled herself for a right lower lobectomy on February 15, 2022—within a week of testing.
“Since the nodule was discovered so early and treated promptly, she had clear surgical margins and no other lymph node involvement,” said Dr. Chandrika. Kim did not require any postoperative chemotherapy, radiation or any other additional treatment.
The best news for Kim and her family: follow-up scans show that she’s disease free.
Kim, who quit smoking when her first grandchild was born, is now a grandmother of five. “I’m grateful that I’m going to be around for them,” she said.
Kim received treatment at The Cancer Institute at Good Samaritan University Hospital in West Islip, NY. That level of care close to home, and as a Good Samaritan University Hospital employee, was helpful for Kim. “Everything was in one spot,” she said. “I spoke with Dr. Chandrika, the surgeon and the pulmonary team to get my surgery set. It was a simple process and very streamlined.”
Get Screened at Catholic Health
Kim now urges anyone who currently smokes, or who has quit within the past 15 years, to get screened for lung cancer. She knows it can be scary to think about facing cancer. "But it’s better to tackle it head-on and get treatment while it’s in an early stage," she said. “You want to know; you want to catch it. It’s a screening that can save your life."
Call 631-775-LUNG (631-775-5864) or 844-CHS-LUNG (844-247-5864) to make an appointment.
If you need a primary care physician, call 866-MY-LI-DOC (866-695-4362).