NEW REPORT: Few Know About Lifesaving Lung Cancer Screening
(November 1, 2017) -
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To spark action this Lung Cancer Awareness Month (November), today the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago released findings from the 4th annual Lung Health Barometer, a survey that revealed critically low awareness of lung cancer and lifesaving lung cancer screening.
Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer deaths, and in 2014 9,528 Illinois residents were diagnosed with the disease. Low-dose CT scan lung cancer screening can catch the disease early, when the lung cancer is more curable. Results of the Lung Association’s Lung Health Barometer illustrate the need for greater awareness and education of lung cancer and screening for those considered at high risk.
“The toll lung cancer takes on our families, friends and neighbors in Illinois and across the nation is truly devastating,” said Kristen Young, executive director of the Lung Association in Greater Chicago. “With the availability of lung cancer screening, we have the opportunity to find the disease earlier and save lives. However, to make this lifesaving opportunity a reality, we must do more to raise awareness of both lung cancer and screening.”
An estimated 9 million Americans are considered at high risk for lung cancer, and if only half of those at high risk were screened, more than 15,000 could be saved. Despite this lifesaving opportunity, fewer than five percent of high-risk Americans have been screened for lung cancer.
Malcolm M. DeCamp, MD, Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and member of the American Lung Association’s Lung Cancer Expert Medical Advisory Panel isn’t surprised about these findings.
“When lung cancer is detected on a screening CT scan it is three times more likely to be in an early stage which is easier to treat. These patients enjoy a twenty percent reduction in the risk of dying of lung cancer,” said DeCamp. “This is why it is imperative to focus on raising awareness of the availability and value of low dose CT lung cancer screenings. We need to educate everyone about the importance of early detection of this #1 cancer killer of both women and men.”
Key Themes & Findings of the 2017 Lung Health Barometer include:
- Only 3 percent of women have lung cancer as a top-of-mind health concern.
- Among high-risk current and former smokers, the survey revealed a low awareness of lung cancer screening:
- Only 15 percent are aware that screening for lung cancer is recommended and covered by Medicare and most healthcare plans at no costThe top reason those at high-risk for lung cancer give for not getting screened is that their doctor never recommended it.
- 84 percent of the high-risk population is unfamiliar with the only recommended lung cancer screening available – the low-dose CT scan.
- Despite it potentially saving their lives, 41 percent of high-risk current and former smokers are not planning on getting screened for lung cancer.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.