Robert Brooky – Lung Cancer Patient Story

Robert Brooky – Lung Cancer

I was first introduced to UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in 2002 when I volunteered for the Pittsburgh Lung Cancer Screening Study as an ex-smoker. Every year, they would do blood work and every other year, I would receive a lung CT scan. In 2011, following one of my CT scans, Dr. David Wilson, director of the study, told me I had nodules on my lungs and he wanted me to have a biopsy to confirm they were cancer.

When I heard, ‘You might have cancer,’ I felt like I had a big “C” on my chest. I didn't want to talk about it or think about it. My mother died of cancer in 1948. Back then, treatments were limited and people rarely survived. That's how I knew cancer and it scared me when I was diagnosed.

I lived with that diagnosis for a year without seeking treatment or telling anyone in my family. I didn't want them to worry about me.

At my next appointment with the lung study, Dr. Wilson told me that I needed to start treatment if I was going to beat this cancer. I had a biopsy, which confirmed the lung cancer, and then started stereotactic radiosurgery at Mary Hillman Jennings Radiation Oncology Center at UPMC Shadyside.

I had three, 35-minute treatments on the Trilogy®, every other day. Today, my radiation oncologist, Dr. Brian Karlovits, tells me my CT scans are clear and I am in remission. Everyone at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center was wonderful. They doted on me and made me feel like I was their only patient. I just want everybody at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center to know how thankful I am.