Marjorie’s Story: How a Lung Cancer Diagnosis Made the Decision to Quit Smoking a Lot Easier

March 18, 2019

“My doctor said to me, ‘we can’t operate unless you quit smoking now,’” said Marjorie Griffin, patient of Thoracic Surgeon Dr. Duane Monteith. “So I said, ‘Okay, the cigarettes are gone. I quit that day.’”

Griffin, 72, of Voorhees Township, was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2019. With the help of primary care specialist Rosemary DeCicco, PA-C, and the experts at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center - Washington Township’s Lung Nodule Center, she’s feeling better than ever.

“I was going to another primary care physician, and I kept insisting that I couldn’t breathe,” said Griffin. “The problem just kept getting worse. I didn’t sound good. I didn’t feel good.”

Griffin was determined to find a new physician – someone who would listen.

“I started to see Rosemary DeCicco,” Griffin continued. “I had a CT scan, and she sent my records over to Dr. Monteith’s office for a second opinion. I was a little hesitant to have her do this, but now, I’m glad she did. If it wasn’t for her, I would have never known there was a nodule on my lung.”

Griffin and her husband attended her first consult with Dr. Monteith a couple of days later.

“We had so many questions, and everything we asked was answered in a professional and caring manner,” Griffin said. “We discussed chemotherapy, radiation, medication … which I thankfully ended up not needing. The entire staff was so responsive and helpful.”

“Dr. Monteith, himself, was excellent. He takes his time with his patients,” explained Griffin. “He truly saved my life.”

The decision to quit smoking and schedule surgery was supported by Griffin’s loving friends and family, especially her husband, daughter and grandson.

“It’s always great to see when a patient can successfully quit smoking. Not everybody has this will-power,” said Dr. Monteith. “Our recommendation is typically to try and stop at least two weeks prior to surgery, as Marjorie did.”

“Quitting ‘cold turkey’ was definitely stressful, but well worth it,” said Griffin. “All I could do was eat and eat and eat. But I did everything on my own, without medication, and I feel great now.”

“There are relatively immediate benefits to quitting, such as a decrease in smoker’s cough,” explained Dr. Monteith. “In the long term, there is such a wide range of health benefits, not just the prevention of lung cancer reoccurrence. Smoking cessation will greatly decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease, as well as other cancers.”

“When I was recovering in the hospital, Dr. Monteith checked on me personally two or three times a day,” Griffin said.

Griffin didn’t require further treatment after surgery, because her cancer was caught at such an early stage, thanks to the referral from DeCicco. “With proper lung cancer screening and a Lung Nodule Center that can focus on diagnosis and management, the survival outlook is so much greater,” Dr. Monteith said.

“This whole experience really changed my perspective,” said Griffin. “Please make sure you have a good doctor who is going to listen and care for you. If you have a problem, let them get to the root of it. I’m so glad I did.”

To learn more about the Lung Nodule Center at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Washington Township, one of the only Lung Nodule Centers in the South Jersey region which offers a Certified Smoking Specialist and Smoking Cessation Support Groups, click here or call  856-218-5324.