Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than colon, breast and prostate cancer combined.
Barbara Stroud (62) of Midwest City, was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013. “Most people don’t know it, but each lung is divided into lobes. Two on the left and three on the right. Luckily, my cancer was in a lobe in my right lung that I could live without – so it was removed.”
Stroud was cancer free for several years, until it returned with a vengeance. This time it was stage four, extending from her brain to her groin. She underwent two rounds of radiation before Bilal Ahmad, M.D., a board-certified hematologist/oncologist with the INTEGRIS Health Cancer Institute at Southwest Medical Center, mentioned Keytruda. “I discussed a personalized tailor-made treatment plan for Barbara. I requested molecular testing on her cancer tissue,” says Ahmad. “I started her on Keytruda which is targeted immunotherapy and helps the immune system to fight cancer in a strong and precise manner.”
“That was in 2019,” remembers Stroud. “I thought it would give me a few extra months. Here it is almost four years later and I’m still kicking.” She credits the Lord, Dr. Ahmad and Keytruda for giving her more time with her three grown children and her five grand-daughters. “I’m thankful every day, not just on Thanksgiving or Christmas. If I wake up, it’s a great day!” Ahmad says Barbara refuses to give up. “She is a person of will power who is consistent with all treatment sessions and thankfully we are seeing great results.”
Although smoking is the main cause of lung cancer, lung cancer risk also is increased by exposure to secondhand smoke; environmental exposures, such as radon, workplace toxins (e.g., asbestos, arsenic), and air pollution. The risk of lung cancer can be reduced by quitting smoking and by eliminating or reducing exposure to secondhand smoke and environmental and workplace risk factors. Stroud hopes by sharing her story, she can help raise awareness of lung cancer and empower those impacted by the disease.