Gerald Riley, 72, had smoked nearly all his life. “After 55 years of smoking, I quit cold turkey when I had a heart attack in 2017,” he said.
Two years after his heart attack, Riley participated in a lung cancer screening at Broward Health Medical Center. The results showed he had cancer. “It was a small spot,” measuring 3 centimeters, he said. “I knew there was a chance that this could happen as a long-term smoker but it was the worst possible thing,” Riley said. “I started to put my life in order expecting severe repercussions.”
Riley was referred to Broward Health’s Dennis Tishko, M.D., F.A.C.S. Tishko also serves as Broward Health Medical Center’s thoracic oncology director. “He was a high-risk patient who had diabetes, heart disease and used a defibrillator,” Tishko said. “Even with his risk factors, there is no question that removing the lung cancer with minimally invasive surgery gave him the best chance of survival.”
Tishko removed the cancer using single-incision video-assisted thoracoscopic (SIVATS) as part of the minimally invasive operation. Riley spent a few days recovering at Broward Health Medical Center. A month later, he was told that the lung cancer was completely removed.
“I was ecstatic due to the results coming back clear,” he said. “Due to the fact that it was caught early, I am out and about again living.”