With 435 horsepower and the ability to accelerate from zero to 60 in just 4.5 seconds, Wesley Moore’s “competition orange” 2015 Mustang GT does more than just fulfill his need for speed. It’s helping the racing enthusiast stay positive and cope with his stage IV lung cancer.
“The weekend after I was diagnosed, I went out to the track,” said Moore, a high-performance driving instructor “It was absolutely necessary. It gave me a sense of normalcy.”
A Shocking Diagnosis
The diagnosis came as a shock to Moore, who had been coughing up small amounts of blood since 2016. He had seen several physicians who believed it was caused by his severe acid reflux, but as time went on, the bleeding worsened, prompting him to seek another opinion. A CT scan confirmed a large lump in his chest and also detected cancer in his brain.
“Because Wesley’s cancer has metastasized, or spread, he needed several different types of therapies. The first step was radiation to stop the bleeding in his lungs and address the cancer in his brain,” said Branden Hsu, MD, the oncologist treating Moore.
“Cancer treatment is not a one-size-fits-all plan. Each patient needs a specialized program based on the type of cancer and its development. At Memorial Hermann Cancer Centers, we take a team approach to make sure each patient’s prescribed treatment plan is the best option available,” Dr. Khwaja said.
Benefiting from a Newly Approved Chemotherapy Treatment
Moore took the first round of treatment in stride.
“I joked with Dr. Khwaja that I was already bald, so it didn’t matter that I would lose my hair. It just meant I didn’t have to shave anymore!” Moore said.
After ringing a ceremonial bell at the Cancer Center signifying the end of a round of treatment, Moore learned something very important about his specific type of lung cancer.
“Wesley has what’s called ALK-positive lung cancer, which is caused by a gene abnormality and not usually related to smoking history. While this type of cancer is very rare, there have been several new drugs recently approved by the FDA that are helping to stop its growth and improve a patient’s overall longevity,” Dr. Hsu said.
Moore noticed an immediate improvement once he started taking the newly approved medication.
“The drugs changed everything,” he said. “I was so fatigued after the radiation and I’d lost a lot of weight. I was joking with the guys at the track that I had lost the weight to help my car go faster! But after I started taking the medication, my energy level increased and my appetite returned. I worked with the dietitian at the Memorial Hermann Cancer Center to put some weight back on, and that made a big difference.”.
Thanks to his tailored treatment regimen and comprehensive care plan, Moore has been able to continue doing what he loves. Even as he’s battling stage IV cancer, he still goes to the track and participates in high-performance driving events, even becoming an instructor to help others learn how to better drive their ”monster cars.”
“I thought about taking some time away from the track, but my wife wouldn’t let me. I’m so grateful for that. The race track guys have really supported us, been praying for us. Being an instructor also gives me a sense of helping others. Watching someone improve their skills because of my input is really satisfying,” Moore said.
As his cancer treatment continues, Moore says he has no plans to slow down.
“Thanks to the care I’ve received, I don’t plan on getting out from behind the driver’s seat any time soon. I hope that by hearing my story, or by seeing me at the track, it helps other people with cancer stay positive,” Moore said. “ I think between having a supportive family, like I do, and finding great doctors, like I did, it makes a huge difference in battling whatever cancer you might be facing.”
From screening and diagnosis to treatment, Memorial Hermann’s comprehensive Lung Cancer Program provides personalized, multidisciplinary and cutting-edge care for lung cancer patients. Learn more about lung cancer screening and treatment options available at Memorial Hermann Cancer Centers.