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

BROOKFIELD, WI (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 has 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 cancer killer in America. This new online assessment tool is the first step toward low-dose screenings that can help detect lung cancers at a treatable stage. This gives doctors a better chance to cure people who we otherwise might not have been able to cure and ultimately, save lives,” says Elizabeth Gore, MD, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at Froedtert Hospital and member of the American Lung Association in Wisconsin Leadership Board.

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.

“The Lung Association has been the leading organization fighting to prevent lung cancer for more than half a century,” said Sue Swan, executive director of the American Lung Association in Wisconsin. “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 Wisconsin
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.LungWI.org

Editor's Note: Click the following link to see a short video of Dr. Malcolm M. DeCamp, Chief of Thoracic Surgery, Northwestern Medicine, Chicago, discussing the significance of low-dose CT screening for lung cancer. YouTube: http://youtu.be/EiQqdVtSySw

Click the following link to view and download an infographic on lung cancer: http://bit.ly/17sD4hS.