Lung cancer survivor gets surgical cure after 19 years

At age 27, Nadine Beech was a picture of health and notably, a non-smoker. So when she was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in 1997, she was in complete disbelief. Nadine’s doctor also didn’t initially detect the disease. “I started spitting up blood after a water skiing accident, and my doctor thought I had a bruised lung,” Nadine says. She saw several doctors in Kansas City, Missouri, before one discovered the 8-centimeter tumor on the lower lobe of her left lung. Nadine had a lobectomy, surgery to remove the cancerous lobe. Six weeks later, she jumped back into her fitness regime, earning three black belts, running a marathon and completing a triathlon. Nadine also quit her job as a bar tender and became a personal fitness trainer. “I was back on top of my game,” she says. But lung cancer returned two years later. Nadine’s lung cancer recurrence In 1999, Nadine visited her oncologist for a routine follow-up CT scan. But instead of leaving with a clean bill of health, she learned the non-small cell lung cancer had returned in her right lung. A New Zealand native, Nadine was discouraged and unsure where to turn. Then, her friend told her about MD Anderson where her father was being treated for lung cancer. “She told me I had to go there for lung cancer treatment,” Nadine says. At MD Anderson, under the care of Waun Ki Hong, M.D., Nadine learned she had three tumors in her right lung, each measuring less than 1 centimeter. Hong decided to not immediately treat her tumors, as they are known to grow slowly...