Lung Cancer Screening Leads to Early Diagnosis and Positive Outcome

Due to an old smoking habit and new screening guidelines, Kaye Beals’ primary care doctor suggested she undergo a lung cancer screening at a routine physical last December.

The 80-year-old from Mt. Zion agreed to the screening, and it showed a nodule. Her care team monitored it for six months in which the nodule grew from 2.2 to 2.5 centimeters. Her subsequent lung biopsy tested positive for cancer.

Kaye met with a local oncologist who recommended Traves Crabtree, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon and professor with Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

“He was very nice to work with,” she said. “He drew a picture of the lung, explained it would be a robot-attended surgery and described exactly what the procedure would involve.”

Crabtree removed 15 – 20 percent of the right upper lobe of her lung and took out the nodule. They tested 25 lymph nodes and the cancer margins. The results came back negative, and there was no need for follow-up procedures. Kaye knows it’s not necessarily a permanent “all clear,” and she will have repeat CT scans.

Today, she is back to swimming three days a week, 30-45 minutes each time. She enjoys cross stitch and knitting. She also practices the organ and volunteers as a substitute organist at two local congregations on Sunday mornings. She and her husband Duane enjoy traveling, especially to visit family in Georgia and New Hampshire.

She appreciates the high-quality care she received from her medical teams both in Decatur and Springfield.

“There’s a difference in a person who is dedicated to what they are doing as opposed to someone who is just doing a job,” she said. “I am grateful that everyone who attended to me during this journey was dedicated and passionate about their job.”

Memorial Medical Center will host a free community event to inform and educate people about lung cancer on Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation (MCLI), 228 W. Miller St. The program, “Shine a Light on Lung Cancer,” begins at 6 p.m. in room 2A on the MCLI’s second floor.

The two-hour program will feature Dr. Traves Crabtree and Dr. Stephen Hazelrigg, both with Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, and Dr. P.J. Nanavati with University Radiologists. The program will also honor people living with lung cancer and those who have been lost to the disease. To register, visit or call 217-588-6254.