Staying positive during lung cancer treatment

Phil Richmond never missed his annual physical, and he considers himself lucky for that. Because he smoked, his doctor performed a chest X-ray every other year. And it was through one such X-ray in 2008 that his doctor noticed a spot on his lung, which was confirmed by a PET scan. The diagnosis was clear: Phil had lung cancer. “I was lucky I received an early lung cancer diagnosis,” Phil says. “Most cases aren’t caught until later.” Lung cancer treatment at MD Anderson Phil was referred to a local surgeon in his hometown of Ft. Smith, Arkansas. But the surgeon quickly admitted he didn’t feel comfortable performing the surgery. It was too difficult, too risky. So, he set up an appointment for Phil at MD Anderson, another step that Phil is certain was critical to his survival. “If it were not for MD Anderson, I wouldn’t be here today,” Phil says. Initially, Phil and his wife were overwhelmed by MD Anderson. It was too big. But when he met his oncologist, Faye Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, he began to feel more at home. She explained to Phil that his lung cancer treatment would include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. “The whole staff couldn’t have treated me any better,” Phil says. “They answered all my questions, no matter how stupid they seemed to me.” Choosing to be positive As Phil’s fears subsided, he and his wife decided to make the most of their time in Houston. Even though they were here for lung cancer treatment, they treated it like a vacation as much...