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Radon Induced Lung Cancer Survivor, Kimberly Buchmeier

Wednesday, November 15th by Chris Verhage

Radon Induced Lung Cancer Survivor Kimberly Buchmeier - Image 1 

Here is Kimberly Buchmeier's story:

"In 2011, at age 37, I was diagnosed with non-small cell adenocarcinoma lung cancer. I was a young, healthy individual, and non-smoker with no family history of lung cancer.  It took several months of doctoring and an accidental finding on an MRI of my back to find the tumor in my lower right lobe.  I had a biopsy done, which indicated the tumor was cancerous.  Luckily, for me, my lung cancer was found early, and I was able to be treated with surgery and chemotherapy.  I had my lower right lobe removed and endured 4 months of chemotherapy.
"Because I was a non-smoker and living a pretty normal and healthy lifestyle, my doctor didn't really have any answers for me to why I got lung cancer.  I had no known risk factors. He just kept referring to "environmental factors."  About a year after my treatment was over I started really researching lung cancer and contacting as many advocacy groups as I could.  It didn't take long for me to find out there were way too many people like me that were diagnosed at an early age living normal and healthy lives with no known cause of lung cancer.  There was one thing that kept sticking out to me and that was the fact that Radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer.  Everything I read boasted this statistic.  Every time I searched the internet for "lung cancer from environmental factors", Radon was always at the top of the list!  This made me curious as I also found out that the state I live in, Nebraska, is the state with the 3rd highest Radon levels in our Nation.  The first time we tested our home the Radon level was very high registering at 14pCi/L's.  We were told to test again in 6-12 months.  The 2nd test showed the Radon level in my home was off the charts registering at 29.9 pCi/L's.  I had been living in a home with extreme Radon levels for 8 years prior to my diagnosis! We had built our home in 2003. We immediately installed a mitigation system and now we can monitor our Radon level and it always below 1pCi/L.  I feel it is very important that everyone is made aware of the risk of high Radon levels in your home.
"Having lung cancer changed my life in so many ways.  I am so grateful that I was diagnosed early and was able to be treated.  I am also grateful that I can share my story so that others can benefit from what I went through."