The Grapevine

Living With One Lung: A Non-Smoker’s Shocking Story

Anyone with lungs could get lung cancer. That is the message of a woman from Manhattan who lost a lung from the disease despite being physically active and avoiding cigarettes. 

Amanda Kouri was 24 when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She said the finding left her shocked and confused since she thought the disease only affects those with a history of smoking, People reported

Kouri started to recognize changes in her body in 2008. She initially experienced problems breathing, which later progressed to years of recurrent pneumonias. 

In 2014, she was brought to a hospital after suffering from terrible chest pain. What Kouri thought was a mild heart attack was actually caused by a tumor in her lung. 

Fortunately, it was early stage lung cancer. The disease hadn’t spread to other parts of her body and doctors were able to cure her. 

However, saving her life required removing one of her lungs. But she did not get a transplant because she could “live a long, healthy life with only one lung.” 

“I was brought up that if you don’t smoke you don’t get lung cancer,” Kouri said. “The most important fact, and not to scare anyone, is that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.”

Importance Of Early Cancer Detection

Kouri, who currently works for a children’s television network, aims to spread awareness of how early detection of lung cancer could help save lives. Estimates show that 70 percent of people diagnosed with the disease at an early stage could live for five more years. 

However, when the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, one’s survival rate may significantly drop to 5 percent.

“I like to think of myself as a great image of what early detection can really do,” Kouri added. “And while mine was a halfway accident of finding it, I am healthy, which is amazing to say.” 

Kouri is a volunteer for the lung cancer research and support organization LUNGevity. She said she wants to use her experience to help people avoid “a death sentence” because of lung cancer. 

To date, the disease is considered the deadliest cancer in the U.S. It is expected to affect 228,000 Americans this year, according to the American Cancer Society. 

lung x-ray The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 228,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019. Pixabay

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