New Lung Cancer Screening Assessment Tool is First Step Toward Saving Lives

American Lung Association recommends low-dose screening for early detection of lung cancer, launches online survey for potential candidates

INDIANAPOLIS (October 24, 2013)

Unlike mammography for breast cancer or colonoscopy for colon cancer, the federal government had not issued recommendations on lung cancer screening until now. By screening at-risk individuals, the medical community believes it could prevent as many as 3,000 to 4,000 deaths a year.

The first step is determining who should receive the screening. In recognition of Lung Cancer Awareness Month (November), the American Lung Association launched an online tool to identify potential candidates.

LungCancerScreeningSavesLives.org takes visitors through a series of questions that helps determine whether they meet the guidelines for a low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening for lung cancer. After completing the online assessment, visitors should consult with their healthcare provider for further discussion and action.

“Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer related deaths in the United States for both males and females. This new online assessment tool is the first step toward identifying individuals who are at high risk for lung cancer.  Individuals at risk should consider low-dose CT screening that can help detect lung cancers at an early stage.  Identifying lung cancers at an early stage gives doctors a better chance to cure people and saves lives,” says Dr. Kenneth Kesler, Surgical Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and Local Leadership Board member of the American Lung Association in Indiana.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently proposed annual low-dose CT screening for individuals at high risk for lung cancer; an estimated nine million Americans. This includes current or former smokers, ages 55-79, who smoked the equivalent of a pack a day for 30 years and have smoked within the past 15 years. If approved, the screenings would be covered by Medicare and the Affordable Care Act may also require many health insurance companies to provide the test for free.

“Embracing new technology can save more lives.  It is lonely being a lung cancer survivor, but with new screening methods for lung cancer, more lives can be saved, and there will be more people like me,” says Marlena Pierce, from Indianapolis, who is an eight-year lung cancer survivor.

“The Lung Association has been the leading organization fighting to prevent lung cancer for more than half a century,” said Tanya Husain, executive director of the American Lung Association in Indiana. “Detecting and treating lung cancer at its earliest stages will ultimately increase survival rates.  Screening is recommended for individuals who meet the criteria of the National Cancer Institute’s National Lung Cancer Screening Trial.”

In addition to the online lung cancer screening assessment tool, the Lung Association provides several resources for lung cancer patients and their caregivers, including: Facing Lung Cancer from Day One, an online tool with valuable educational and supportive resources; and the Lung Connection, an online community for people living with lung disease. The Lung HelpLine can also answer questions about lung health or CT screenings; calls are toll-free at 1-800-LUNG-USA.

About the American Lung Association in Indiana
Our mission is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.LungIL.org.