AURORA -- November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. While this type of cancer is not always at the forefront, lung cancer impacts more people each year, and not just smokers.
Over the last few years, a set of twins overcame their cancer diagnosis. They hope their story encourages others to be more aware of the prevalence of this disease and staying on top of your health.
“My sister and I are very, very, very close,” said Bonny Berges-Tanner. “Seven minutes apart."
Berges-Tanner’s twin Becky was first diagnosed with breast cancer toward the end of 2017.
“It makes you wish that you had it rather than her,” said Berges-Tanner. “You want to do everything that you can to take that pain away, and worrying and suffering away.”
The news of her sister encouraged Berges-Tanner to find out if anything was wrong with her health too.
“My family physician ordered an MRI for me,” said Berges-Tanner. “They found out that I had a cancer growing."
Berges-Tanner was diagnosed with lung cancer.
“To hear that I had lung cancer when I have never smoked, that was crazy,” said Berges-Tanner.
She also learned the melanoma she had back in 2003 had traveled to her lungs too.
“The treatment for those two can be quite different, so there was definitely some uncertainty in terms of what her treatment was going to be,” said Dr. Jennifer Marks, General Thoracic Surgeon for Health One.
Dr. Marks was able to surgically remove the cancer at the Medical Center of Aurora without the use of radiation or chemotherapy. New treatment is continuing to emerge for treating the disease.
“We are coming up with more and more individual targeted therapy options for the patients that are really sometimes just a pill instead of traditional chemotherapy,” said Dr. Marks.
For Berges-Tanner, her close relationship with her sister and family will continue her fight forward as they both travel the road to recovery.
“As long as you have a positive attitude, faith in God and people around you, my husband, my family, my dog, that's what it takes to successfully go through something like this,” said Berges-Tanner.