12-Plus Year Lung Cancer
Survivor Thanks Dearborn County Hospital for Another Birthday
On May 9, Wilma Baird of Alexandria, Kentucky,
celebrated another birthday. Just like the 12
birthdays before, she expressed her thanks to Dearborn
County Hospital and its team of Radiologists.
She credits them for saving her life when she was
diagnosed early with lung cancer in 1999.
“I believe I am still here today because of the 20
second lung cancer screening I had at Dearborn County
Hospital almost 13 years ago,” stated Mrs. Baird.
“It was in August and I was home preparing dinner when I
first saw the story about the lung cancer screenings on
a local newscast. Even though I felt fine at the
time, something inspired me to call Dearborn County
Hospital for more information. Now, I credit that
call with helping to save my life.
“The screening itself was effortless and the entire
process took only minutes. I really didn’t think
the doctors would find anything wrong, since I had
stopped smoking 13 years previously. Much to my
surprise, however, the screening CT showed a lesion in
my left lung. A diagnostic CT was then ordered
which revealed a two centimeter probable carcinoma
located in the upper lobe of my left lung,” she
Wilma Baird, 12-plus year lung cancer
survivor, celebrates her birthday with DCH Radiologist Dr.
James Cole. Mrs. Baird’s lung cancer was detected
early by Dr. Cole when she came to DCH for a lung cancer
screening in 1999
“Dr. Jim Cole, one of the Radiologists at Dearborn
County Hospital, consulted with my family doctor in
Northern Kentucky and it was determined that a CoDe/PET
scan (forerunner to the hospital’s dedicated PET/CT
scanner) at Dearborn County Hospital should be the next
course of action rather than a biopsy. Due to the
location of the lesion, the physicians were concerned
that a biopsy could cause my lung to collapse,” Mrs.
“The CoDe/PET scan revealed the lesion was malignant,
however, it had not spread from the point of origin in
the left upper lobe. DCH sent my results to my family
doctor and he coordinated my surgery.
I was extremely fortunate that my cancer was caught
early so that I didn’t have to undergo radiation therapy
or chemotherapy before or after my surgery.
“I feel very blessed that I was able to have a lung
cancer screening in 1999. Very few hospitals in the
country were that forward thinking to have made
screenings available to the public at that time. Each
year during the holidays I send a card to the DCH
Imaging Department with a note of thanks. This past
year I wrote:
It’s been 12 years since my lung cancer was discovered
so very early and removed, giving me those years to:
be a part of many milestones for my children and
grandchildren, even for the birth of my first
spend winters in Florida,
celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary
(my husband died seven months later),
visit Alaska, the 49th state on my
sit by her side and hold the hand of my oldest
daughter as she died of breast cancer,
for these and so many other life experiences I would
have missed, I am so grateful to you, my friends, in
radiology and X-ray that made it possible.
“Surviving lung cancer for any significant period of
time is rare. That’s because it is usually not detected
early. Most people don’t notice or follow up on symptoms
until the cancer has advanced. Even with a chest X-ray,
lung cancer isn’t always detected, especially if it is
in the early stages of the disease.
“So much has happened in my life over the past 12-plus
years and I feel very fortunate to be alive. I can’t
say that my cancer will never return but for now I am
fine,” added Mrs. Baird. “The only advice that I can
give to people, and I know through firsthand experience,
is that if you are a smoker, former smoker or have been
exposed to significant secondhand smoke, talk to your
doctor and make an appointment for a lung cancer
screening today! The earlier a cancer is detected, the
better the chance for a favorable outcome like mine.
Please don’t put it off another day.”
Helical CT lung cancer screenings are available daily by
appointment at Dearborn County Hospital. Individuals who
are appropriate for the screening include current and
former smokers with a history of 10 pack-years, meaning
the person smoked one pack a day for 10 years, two packs
a day for 5 years and so forth. The cost of the
screening is $150 and in most cases is not covered by
insurance. A physician’s order is required for the
screening and the results of the screening and
Radiologist’s interpretation will be sent to the
ordering physician for follow-up with the patient.
For more information on helical CT lung cancer
screenings or to make an appointment, please call
Dearborn County Hospital at 812/532-2611 or
800/676-5572, ext. 2611.