Shane’s Story

Shane began smoking at age 18 and was only 34 when the damage to his body from smoking became evident. He noticed he was having difficulty swallowing; throat cancer turned out to be the cause. During the surgeries that followed, doctors removed his larynx, part of his esophagus, and collarbone and then reshaped and stretched his stomach to serve as an esophagus. After surgery, he spoke with the aid of an electrolarynx and had a 1-inch stoma (opening) in his neck so he could breathe.

While Shane remained smoke-free since 2003, the years of smoking continued to affect his health and quality of life. At 44, he faced a new challenge when his doctors found cancer in his chest. He bravely battled smoking related cancer for over ten years until it took his life in August of 2016.

Shane’s Videos


Shane was only 34 when the damage to his body from smoking became evident. Throat cancer led to the removal of his larynx and doctors eventually found cancer in his chest. In these commercials and extended videos, Shane told his story.

Shane’s Story
Shane, whose throat cancer was a result of smoking, discussed how he didn’t realize the health complications that could result from tobacco use in this video from CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers® campaign. Shane passed away in August 2016.
Anthem Ad
This TV ad, from CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers® campaign, features Shane, Sharon, and Shawn — three people who have stomas as a result of their smoking. They provide tips on how to live with this condition.

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Shane’s Biography


Shane began smoking at age 18, something every member of his family already did. He was only 34 when the damage to his body from smoking became evident. He noticed he was having difficulty swallowing; throat cancer turned out to be the cause. During the surgeries that followed, doctors removed his larynx, part of his esophagus, and collarbone and then reshaped and stretched his stomach to serve as an esophagus. He also had a 1-inch stoma (opening) in his neck so he could breathe.

Shane

“I tried several times to quit smoking and thought it was impossible,” said Shane with the aid of an electrolarynx, a device he pressed against his neck so he could talk. “But after the surgery, I’ve had no desire to smoke.”

Having a stoma caused his day-to-day routine to change dramatically. He had to give up his work as a machinist, and even simple things, like taking a shower, were dangerous. At age 44, he faced a new challenge. His doctors had found cancer in his chest.

Shane hoped that by participating in the Tips From Former Smokers® campaign, he could show others that while smoking may not kill you right away, a person would be foolish to think that smoking won’t affect him or her eventually.

“You know how dangerous smoking is,” Shane said. “Age makes no difference. It will catch up to you.” Shane died on August 4, 2016 from smoking-related cancer.

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