Letters: Readers discuss Halloween, lung cancer

Letters to the editor stock
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Letters to the editor stock

Letters to the editor stock
Metro Creative Connection

Where were the trick-or-treaters?

It’s 7:35 p.m. on Halloween night as I write this, and I’ve yet to see a single kid come to my door. What’s happened to trick-or-treating is this area? Doesn’t anyone come anymore? I don’t poison my candy or put razor blades or nails into it. I have a perfectly safe home here.

I guess I’ve just lived too long. So far, I hate about 95 percent of what’s happened this century. Even 1974 was better in some respects, and I hated that year.

David Johnson, Council Bluffs

More needs to be done to raise awareness about lung cancer, screening availabilities

Many Iowa and Nebraska residents may be unaware that lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of men and women in the U.S., accounting for about one in four cancer deaths. It is estimated that in 2018 alone, 2,480 people in Iowa will be diagnosed with lung cancer.

One of the reasons that lung cancer is so deadly is that it is often diagnosed in later stages, after the disease has already spread.

As the medical director of the lung screening program at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital, I have seen firsthand the impact that this terrible disease has on families and residents of Iowa.

Recently, a 62-year-old gentleman was referred to me for a spot on his lung. He had a cough several months prior and underwent evaluation with a chest X-ray which was normal.

He was treated with antibiotics for a presumed respiratory infection and his symptoms improved. What he unfortunately didn’t know at the time was that a cancer was growing near his main airway, which could not be detected by the X-ray. Months went by, and the patient had a recurrence of his symptoms.

A CT scan was ultimately performed and found a spot in his lung that unfortunately proved to be a cancer. He was an occasional smoker but recently quit and was in absolute disbelief. It was a heart-breaking conversation to tell him that his cancer had spread to multiple organs in his body.

Unfortunately, I see and diagnose several similar cases of lung cancer on a weekly basis in southwest Iowa.

More needs to be done to raise awareness of lung cancer and the availability of lifesaving lung cancer screening. That’s why I encourage local residents who smoked or still smoke to visit SavedByTheScan.org to take an easy lung cancer screening eligibility quiz and learn if they may be at high risk and eligible for screening.

Screening is covered by Medicare and most private insurance plans with no cost sharing for those who meet the high-risk criteria.

If each of the eight million Americans at high risk were to be screened, we’d have the opportunity to save about 25,000 lives.

Dr. Sumit Mukherjee, Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine, Methodist Physicians Clinic Jennie Edmundson Hospital and American Lung Association local leadership board member, Council Bluffs

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