Kathleen Mas smoked for 52 years.

About three months ago she noticed a cough, but didn't think much of it. As a matter of fact, her chest X-ray came back fine, but her doctor suggested she have a low dose CT Scan.

It's a good thing she did. Kathleen Mas says, "It's almost disbelief, you feel too good to have cancer."

But she did.

Kathleen had surgery two months later. Every year more than 4,300 Tennessee residents are diagnosed with lung cancer. It's the nation's leading cause of cancer deaths.

Dr. Rob Headrick with CHI Memorial says, "Lung cancer has been one those we call it a silent killer." Headrick is a specialist in thoracic and lung care. He is pushing to raise awareness of lung cancer and the life-saving tool, the lung cancer screening.

He says, "You can see things in high definition just like we do with our television sets, inside your body, so you can pick up things in a very small state."

Headrick says anyone 55-77 years old who has smoked at least a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years is a candidate for the lung screening, "We're losing about 10 years off our life. Those are 10 years that are important."

Dr. Headrick says, "It's never too late to quit smoking."

Kathleen knows that first hand. She has lots of precious reasons to live for.

Kathleen Mas says, "I feel better not smoking. That occurred within the first 24 hours."

Click here to learn more from CHI Memorial Hospital.