Lung cancer patient gets a second chance after lobectomy

It was a 5.5-cm tumor wrapped around Jason McFarland’s pulmonary artery that threatened to end his 20-year career as a police officer and, possibly, his life.  He’d sought medical attention after coughing up blood. But at age 42, he never suspected cancer. The doctors near his hometown of Effingham, Illinois, weren’t optimistic about the diagnosis the X-rays and CT scans revealed: stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer. “It’s going to take a Herculean effort to survive this cancer,” his doctor told him. Jason would need surgery, and because of the tumor’s location, it wouldn’t be easy. The doctor told him it was unlikely he’d get to go back to work and there was a 30% chance he might not make it off the operating table at all. Jason thought of his wife and three children. He thought of the career he loved. He decided to look for other odds. Finding hope at MD Anderson It was a friend who worked in an emergency room that recommended MD Anderson. “If I were you, I’d be in Texas,” he told Jason. A week later, Jason and his wife flew to Houston for an appointment. He met with his care team, which recommended four rounds of chemotherapy, and then a lobectomy, followed by radiation therapy. Jason loved the comradery and compassion among MD Anderson staff and the other patients. But most of all he loved the hope his doctors gave him. Remembering the odds his doctor back in Illinois had given him, he asked his new surgeon, David Rice, M.D., what the chances were that he wouldn’t survive the surgery. Rice told...