Its a good question and one I get asked often. In my speciality as a doctor, pathology, like most doctors, we end up sub-specialising (often into very niche areas) and its often funny to hear how some people end up where they did!
I have colleagues who knew exactly what they wanted to do before they even got into med-school…. though most of those change their mind!
For myself – other pathologists do ask me why lungs and surely I’d be interested in other organs/diseases. The truth is, I am! I am interested in all aspects of the body, but sadly there isn’t enough time to study it all in depth.
So lung cancer was a mixture of things – it is an interesting area, but a hugely important one. It is the 3rd biggest cancer but it is the single biggest cancer killer. And until recently there had been little improvement in our ability to treat it – but in the last decade or so we’ve seen an explosion of new medicines that makes its a fast moving and really exciting area to work in!
I would also say that my mentor and supervisor is a really inspirational person – they work in lung cancer and have achieved huge amounts in their life and is incredibly supportive of me.
I wouldn’t say I have always wanted to study lung cancer, or that I’d be unhappy studying something else – but when chances come along to you – sometimes it just seems like it was meant to be that way!