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Executive Grateful for Successful Treatment of Unexpected Cancer Diagnosis

An executive at a Bloomington, Indiana based company, Ed Ackerman was already benefiting from great health care locally when his boss invited him to participate in Cleveland Clinic’s Executive Health Program.  

“I’d recently gotten a clean bill of health after my annual physical with my local primary care physician and a second check up at the local VA hospital,” says Ackerman, a U.S. Army veteran. “I was feeling blessed to have good health with no symptoms of any kind, but since my boss spoke so highly of the program at Cleveland Clinic, I said yes.”

Ackerman came to Cleveland Clinic in October 2022 for a comprehensive day-long exam designed to discover potential health problems; target, reduce and eliminate risk factors; facilitate prompt, expert follow-up care as needed; and promote wellness.

A typical executive health physical includes a head-to-toe evaluation; vision, hearing, heart health and lung function tests; urinalysis and comprehensive blood work; weight, fitness and stress evaluation and more.

“We knew Mr. Ackerman had had a family history of heart disease, and the routine CT scan and chest x-ray showed some calcium build-up in his coronary arteries,” says Raul Seballos, MD, an internal medicine physician and enterprise director for the Center for Executive Health Medicine at Cleveland Clinic. “But in reviewing both of those tests, we also saw a spot on his lower right lung.”

In the midst of his day-long exam, Ackerman was told that Dr. Seballos had scheduled him for a second CT scan.

“We don’t typically screen non-smokers like Mr. Ackerman for lung cancer, but that spot was concerning,” says Dr. Seballos. “The second CT scan confirmed the presence of a tumor larger than two inches. I told Mr. Ackerman to consider it lung cancer until proven otherwise and encouraged him to seek care from a pulmonologist as soon as possible.”

For Ackerman, it was fortunate that spot showed up. A pulmonologist in Indiana conducted a bronchoscopy and PET scan which led to a diagnosis of stage 2A lung cancer. On December 21, 2022, he had surgery – a lung resection – to remove the tumor followed by four rounds of chemotherapy.

In February, Ackerman felt like things were piling up on him. “The chemotherapy was arduous – I can’t overstate how tough it is,” he says. One evening, he was experiencing symptoms of a possible heart attack. As the care team at his local emergency department began treatment, he accessed his stress test results and calcium score from Cleveland Clinic’s MyChart and shared those details. Their assessment combined with that information led to Ackerman being sent directly to the cath lab. One artery had 95% blockage, which was addressed with the placement of a stent.

At just 61 years old, Ackerman has a new lease on life. He’s grateful that his boss invited him to participate in Cleveland Clinic’s Executive Health Program which led to the early diagnosis of lung cancer and for the great treatment he received.

“I’m so fortunate, and as a result, want to encourage others,” says Ackerman, whose follow up tests and scans show that he is cancer free. “Don’t assume you are healthy. Go to the doctor, get that annual physical. Go ahead and get the test. I’m never going to stop going once a year for the executive physical because a lifestyle of prevention is better than a lifetime of treatment.”

Related Institutes: Respiratory Institute, Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center
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