Registered Nurse (BSN), Brandy Zwicker has worked in the areas of medical, oncology, cardiac telemetry, critical care step-down, basic care, Director of Nursing, and Quality Assurance Manager. Brandy Zwicker is an ambassador for lung cancer awareness. Brandy told us, “Lung cancer statistics remain high. However, even though over 230,000 new lung cancer diagnoses are made annually in the US, nearly 531,000 people today, have at some point in their lives been diagnosed with lung cancer, and yet they are alive and well with zero remission. This is predominantly because it was caught early through lung cancer screenings.”
Three main types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer, and lung carcinoid lung cancer.
Lung Cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type, affecting nearly 85% of those with
lung cancer. Fortunately, this form of carcinoma usually grows at a slower
rate. There are three subsets that makeup NSCLC, Squamous, adenocarcinoma, and
Small Cell or Oat:
Cell cancer affects nearly 10% of the lung cancer population and spreads very
affects about 5% of those with lung cancer. It grows very slowly and rarely
Smokers & Non-Smokers
Smokers are, of course, at higher risk of developing lung cancer. Nonetheless, the stereotype that often coincides with a lung cancer diagnosis is that patients are assumed to have smoked. But the stark reality is that in many cases, lung cancer diagnosis happens to patients that have never smoked a day in their life.
Non-smokers that have lung cancer are usually identified as those that have been exposed to environmental carcinogens like, cleaning products, diesel exhaust, radon gas, asbestos or those with genetic mutations. Research suggests that screening a high-risk population for lung cancer can drastically reduce the number of mortalities
from this disease.
CT Scan Screening
Brandy Zwicker explained, “CT scans of the chest are advantageous in identifying and screening for lung cancer. If detected in the early stages, the treatment options and
outcomes are much more successful. Because CT scans can detect tiny masses in
the lungs, by detecting cancerous tumors at an early stage, an individual’s
survival rate may be significantly improved.”
Lung cancer screenings are crucial for smokers and former smokers, especially those 55-75 years of age. This is due to the prevalence of lung cancer seen in this population. The screenings are also vital for individuals exposed to carcinogens, or those that show signs and symptoms of
Given the advantages of having lung screenings with CT scans, due to the higher resolution and ability to detect very tiny cancer cells, there is a proven reduction in lung
cancer-related deaths compared to those patients tested with X-ray.
Treatment & Recovery
Depending on the stage and type
of lung cancer, there are several treatment options. These include surgery,
chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy, and immunotherapy. Early
detection is imperative for survival rates, health impacts, and recovery.
Brandy Zwicker is a Bachelor of Science (BSN) Registered Nurse with ten years of nursing experience. Brandy Zwicker has a passion for serving others and her career as a Registered Nurse has provided her many opportunities to serve vulnerable populations. Brandy looks forward to many more years within healthcare and plans to attend a university to pursue her Doctor of Nursing Degree with plans to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.