Jump to content

Concerned husband - wife thinks smoking isn't damaging her lungs

Recommended Posts

My wife heard about a lung cancer screening that was being offered in our area. She's 60 years old and has been smoking for over 40 years. She had a lung "scan" performed. I don't know if this was a simple chest x-ray, or some sort of scan that shows more information about your lungs.

When the results were in, she had an appointment with someone who gave her the results. I don't know if this was a doctor, but I was surprised by what this person told her. She was told that her lungs looked "perfect". No advice was given that she should give up smoking regardless of this result. In my wife's eyes, this result told her that over 40 years of smoking had caused absolutely zero damage to her body. Her smoking has increased since then.

I tried to tell her that she is doing damage to her health, regardless of this person telling her her lungs are "perfect". I am living in fear that one day she will find out that she has lung cancer, and at that point she'll say, "why didn't I stop?" But it could be too late. Or she could easily develop heart disease related to her smoking.

She has a blood disorder "Factor V Leiden" (the V is roman numberal 5), that causes her blood to be thicker than normal, and she actually had a pulmonary embolism about 12 years ago, and must be on blood thinners for the rest of her live. She was extremely lucky to survive this. She could have easily died at the time. You would think this would be enough to make her want to stop smoking, but she uses stress as an excuse that she should be allowed to smoke.

I'm hoping someone can give me some information on what type of "scan" she may have had. Is it just an x-ray, and MRI, or what? What do you think about the result she was given, that her lungs are "perfect"? Can you give me any advice and/or information I can pass on to my wife? Horror stories and videos of others who regret not taking action before it was too late don't seem to help. She refuses to watch. She's in denial and thinks, "it won't happen to me."

Should I repost this on the  general forum or somewhere else?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Concerned husband

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome here!

Let's start with your questions, recognizing that I'm not a doctor.  "What type of scan?"  Likely a low-dose computed axial tomography or CAT scan.  If so, it is a 3-dimensional x-ray with much higher resolution than a normal x-ray.  It enables radiologist who interpret the results to discern and measure abnormalities in the thorax cavity.  These can be as small as 1 mm in size.  If there is an abnormality, it is reported to the ordering physician.  While the test can disclose abnormalities, it cannot diagnose them as cancerous.  A biopsy or positron emission tomography or PET scan can determine active metastatic cancer.  Here is more information on diagnostic scans you might find useful - https://www.lungevity.org/about-lung-cancer/lung-cancer-101/diagnosing-lung-cancer/imaging-tests

"What do I think about the result she was given, that her lungs are perfect?"  It happens.  All that is necessary to get lung cancer is a pair of lungs.  Smoking is a principal cause but 18 to 20-percent of those diagnosed are "never smokers."  How long does it take for cancer to develop?  Now that is a question I can answer from experience.  I had an x-ray in January 2004 to diagnose 2 broken ribs.  No cancer was evident.  A month later, an x-ray confirmed by a CAT scan showed a tumor 2 3/4" long and 1" wide blocking the main stem bronchus of my right lung.

I smoked for 33 years and tried to quit many times.  I was addicted to nicotine and have since learned that nicotine is as addictive as heroin, in terms of the strength of addiction. So, I can completely understand why she continues to smoke.  I also understand that nothing she reads, sees or that you say will persuade her to quit.  In fact, your pleading might harden her attitude.  You might pray and I will also.  You might encourage, softly.  You might get other loved ones to do the same.  But persuasion by logical argument will get you no where.  I knew smoking was bad for me.  I read all the warnings, saw all the commercials and until I was diagnosed with late-stage non small cell Squamous cell lung cancer, it was a disease someone else got.  She has an addiction and will need to find a reason herself for quitting.

We are not sticklers for where you post.  Anywhere you feel comfortable will do.  You'll likely have more questions and ask away.  We are the lung cancer experts, at least in terms of experience.

Stay the course. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.