Celebrating My Second Independence Day Free of Cancer!

By Jack Martins, US Marine Corp Veteran and lung cancer survivor


Jack Martins

As the nation prepares to celebrate its 239th birthday, this Marine Corp vet is preparing for a celebration of his own.

Slightly less than two years ago, in November 2013, my wife watched a Health Watch news segment that highlighted the free low dose CT scans being offered to veterans, in honor of Veterans Day, at a nearby hospital, Middlesex Cancer Center in Middletown CT.  Veterans have a higher incidence rate of lung cancer than the general population.

Since I had smoked up to four packs a day for over 50 years she was concerned about the possibility that I might have lung cancer, so she recorded the segment and asked me to watch it.  After learning the risk factors, I realized I would be crazy not to take advantage of this offer.

When I arrived at the cancer center I was greeted by the Nurse Navigator, Gean Brown, and Dr. Raymond Schoomaker, two of the most caring people you could ever meet. After filling out a brief questionnaire, Dr. Schoomaker informed me that I was a prime candidate for a low dose CT scan. After the scan, a quick and easy process, I was told they would be in touch that week with the results.

Two days later I got the phone call no one wants to receive – they had found something on my right lung that didn’t look right. After meeting with a Pulmonologist and getting a Pet CAT Scan to assist in determining the problem, we found out it was cancer.

Jack, his wife Marianne, son, Brian, and daughter, Patty.

Jack, his wife Marianne, son, Brian, and daughter, Patty.

Hearing this news was shocking, but I powered through the process to learn more about how I could fight this. I was put in touch with Dr. John Frederico, , who brought a sense of relief when he told me he was confident he could remove the cancer completely through surgery and have me home the next day.  He proved to be a man of his word! Since January 7, 2014, I have had two additional scans which showed no additional problems!

So as the nation celebrates its independence I am celebrating my second Independence Day free of cancer.

My closing thoughts for anyone reading this is, if you are worried about the possibility of having lung cancer, have a low dose CT scan performed. Even if cancer is found, if you are as lucky as I was, it will be Stage 1A cancer which is easily treatable. If the cancer is more advanced, early treatment can save your life.

Happy July 4th!!!

Visit AtRiskForLungCancer.org to find out if you are at risk for lung cancer. If you are interested in getting a CT scan, click here to find a Screening Center of Excellence near you. For any further questions, please call our HelpLine at 1-800-298-2436 or email support@lungcanceralliance.org.