Retired HR Manager Cancer-free After Lung Cancer Treatment   

Retired HR Manager Cancer-free After Lung Cancer Treatment

Diane and her son, smiling, during their trip to Las Vegas.

“I love to gamble,” says Diane Messick, a retired banker and HR manager who takes an annual trip to Las Vegas with her son every year. “It’s fun to take some small risks in life.”

But one risk Diane doesn’t take is with her health. “That’s why, when my primary care physician asked me if I was a smoker and suggested I have a chest X-ray, despite having no health problems, I said, ‘Sure, let’s do it.’”

To her surprise, the scan showed some concerning spots on her upper right and lower right lung. “A biopsy confirmed I had lung cancer,” explains Diane who was distraught by the 2017 diagnosis.

She was introduced to Nabil Rizk, M.D., chief of Thoracic Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center. “From the second I met him, he had a calming and commanding presence. So I placed all my chips in Dr. Rizk’s hands,” Diane says.

Preserving Lung Function With Surgery

Dr. Rizk suggested Diane undergo a lung segmentectomy, which is often recommended for early non-small cell lung cancer. This surgery removes the lung disease without removing excess normal lung, which preserves lung function.

“Advances in technology allow us to use robotics to perform lung segmentectomy, offering minimal incisions and a level of precision that open surgery and even video-assisted surgery do not allow,” Dr. Rizk says. “Robot-assisted segmentectomy offers an alternative that is associated with fewer complications and shorter postoperative hospitalization than other techniques, which improves the patient’s quality of life.”

Diane says that after the procedure, she felt great and continued to follow up with Dr. Rizk every three months. 

“I did experience a recurrence of cancer in the lower left of my left lung in 2018, so Dr. Rizk performed a lobectomy, where he removed an entire left lobe,” Diane says.

Cancer-free After Successful Treatment

Most recently, Diane learned the cancer had spread once again to the upper left lobe of the lung. This time, Dr. Rizk and team suggested she undergo radiation treatment at John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack.

“Once again, I wasn’t about to leave this to luck or chance, I listened to Dr. Rizk who collaborated closely with radiation oncologist, Brett Lewis, M.D., Ph.D., and thanks to their thoughtful care, the only roll of the dice I’ll be taking is with my son in Las Vegas later on our next annual trip.”

Diane is once again cancer-free and urges everyone that if you or someone you love has a family history of cancer or smoking, talk to your doctor about lung cancer screening.

Next Steps & Resources

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.


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