Covington resident Wilbert Hill knows what it means to fight for his life.
Hill’s latest challenge is to overcome stage IV lung cancer with the help of doctors at Piedmont Newton Hospital.
“When I first heard the words, I was depressed,” Hill, a grandfather of two, said. “Stage IV means you die, but calm came over me and I decided I am going fight my way into remission.”
Hill believes that his 40 plus year history of smoking contributed to his lung cancer diagnosis. After undergoing surgery for a thoracic aneurysm, Hill quit smoking completely in 2008 to improve his chance of full recovery.
“You have to understand … I am 72 years old and when I was a kid, smoking was the hip thing to do,” Hill said. “All the cool guys in the movies smoked. That is the way it was. Everybody smoked. People even smoked in hospitals. I came home from the hospital, threw away the cigarettes and never smoked again.”
Smoking is the leading risk factor for lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, at least 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are thought to result from smoking.
“It is so important older patients who have a long history of smoking get screened,” Dr. Victoria Afshani, hematologist and oncologist at Piedmont Newton, said. “With a simple test that only takes 30 minutes to complete, you have an opportunity to catch lung cancer before it spreads.”
The National Lung Screening Trial found that annual screening with the use of low-dose CT (computed tomography) reduces mortality from lung cancer by 20 percent when compared to annual screening with chest x-ray. As with many diseases, early detection of lung cancer is key to successful treatment.
In September 2015, doctors at Piedmont Newton declared Hill had achieved remission.
“I give a lot of credit to Dr. Afshani,” Hill said. “She is a very good doctor.”
For more information about the lung cancer screening, visit piedmont.org/lung.
Anne Gantt is the senior communications specialist for Piedmont Newton and can be reached at 678-625-2045.