Kevin Moore: “No one can stop me”

In August 2020, it was easy to worry about an allergy or a tickle in the throat. With the coronavirus pandemic making headlines day after day, many people, including doctors, were cautious about respiratory symptoms.

When Kevin Moore began noticing a morning cough and fatigue that followed him through the day, he was concerned. He made a commitment to quit smoking and he scheduled an appointment with his primary care provider. But before he could get in to see his doctor, he developed a sinus infection and an upper respiratory infection. With a lifetime history of bronchitis, Kevin requested an X-ray to analyze the health of his lungs.

A negative COVID test provided some relief, but the X-ray results led to a diagnosis that Kevin did not expect: he had developed small cell lung cancer on his left lung.

As one of six children growing up in West Dearborn, Kevin had been raised with a spirit of hard work and determination.

“I heard from the doctor that the cancer was treatable. That’s all I needed was that little thread of hope,” Kevin said.

Even so, his cancer journey would begin on a foundation of tragedy. In 2019, his father and lifelong hero, passed away. During the funeral, Kevin’s younger sister began experiencing unexplainable stomach pain and discomfort without relief. She would later be diagnosed with an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer. Seven months later the disease would take her life.

Kevin was determined to live a life his dad and sister would have been proud to witness. Retirement from his job allowed him to spend time enjoying days outside in the sun working in his garden and landscaping.

To face his cancer, Kevin knew that he needed a strong team behind him. He began seeing specialists but struggled to find a doctor that truly listened and communicated clearly about his test results and diagnosis. After several tests, his doctor followed up through voicemail. “I didn’t like that. I wanted the doctor to bring me into the office and explain everything to me, like I was a person,” Kevin said.

He requested a follow-up appointment with this doctor; however, she declined, preferring to discuss life-changing news over the phone. “That was very unprofessional to me. That’s not at all what I wanted in a doctor who was treating my cancer,” Kevin said.

Hearing about this, Kevin’s neighbor recommended Karmanos Cancer Institute. His neighbor had been treated there himself and was a cancer survivor. Kevin scheduled an appointment for a second opinion. He began working with Harold Kim, M.D., and Dipesh Uprety, M.D., FACP, members of the Thoracic Oncology Multidisciplinary, to create a personalized treatment plan.

The two skilled physicians helped Kevin understand his options and make an informed decision about his diagnosis and treatment plan.

“Dr. Uprety brought up my scans on his laptop and explained everything to me in detail. That’s what I was hoping other institutions would do. At Karmanos, they treated me like a person,” Kevin said.

Before Kevin began treatment, his daughter and new grandson visited from Florida. Their support and presence gave him the strength and motivation he needed to begin his chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Despite having in-person appointments and scans during the pandemic, Kevin never worried about his safety at appointments. He knew that precautions would be taken to ensure his treatment was never compromised.

“The doctors and staff at Karmanos are top notch. I have nothing bad to say about any of them. The second opinion I received at Karmanos was the best option for me,” Kevin said.

Additionally, Kevin had the clear communication he sought all along. Dr. Uprety would call Kevin just to ask how he was feeling.

“Dr. Uprety was always willing to talk to any of my family. He just wanted to know how I was really doing. I don’t know a single doctor who would take that much dedication, heartfelt thoughts to a patient in all my life,” Kevin said.

The key to facing the cancer battle for Kevin was to surround himself with people that deeply cared for him. Kevin recommended, “You have to have family that will support you. It’s vital to your cancer journey.”

More than a year after his initial diagnosis, Kevin has repeated scans without concern and regained his energy back. He is back outdoors fixing up his picture-perfect yard with the mentality that, “No one can stop me.”

Kevin plans to visit his daughter and grandson this Christmas. His cancer diagnosis has given him a new perspective and appreciation for his family. As a proud grandfather, he feels grateful to have more time with those he loves.

“I had hope. People with stage four cancer can still have hope if they get down to Karmanos; they have all the facilities that you need.” Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. However, lung cancer is also one of the most preventable cancers. The best way to prevent the disease is to quit smoking. Screening can also reduce the risk of dying from lung cancer.

Physicians at Karmanos Cancer Center developed the Lung Cancer Screening Program centered around offering a yearly CT scan for those who are at an increased risk of lung cancer.

Those eligible for screening are:

  • Men and women aged 55-80.
  • Current smokers or former smokers, who quit no more than 15 years ago, with at least 30-pack-year smoking history.

Prior to his lung cancer diagnosis, Kevin never underwent any lung cancer screening. Kevin said, “Lung cancer screening is really important considering what I went through. A lot of people assume that cancer won’t happen to them. I certainly didn’t think that cancer would happen to me.” Karmanos is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and the only hospital in Michigan dedicated exclusively to fighting cancer. The Thoracic Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at the Karmanos Cancer Center focus primarily on the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer and therefore have a level of expertise that other centers may not have.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, it is important to be evaluated by cancer experts before beginning treatment. Call 1-800-KARMANOS (1-800-527-6266) to speak with a trusted oncology patient navigator who can help you determine which tests are right for you.

Kevin Moore's picture-perfect yard.