Lung cancer screening is one of the most powerful tools we have in stopping lung cancer, with the potential to save tens of thousands of lives if everyone at risk is screened.

The problem, though, is most people don’t know about it.

In fact, according to our 4th Annual Lung Health Barometer, 84 percent of those eligible for lung cancer screening are not familiar with the low-dose CT scan. In addition to critically low awareness, the survey found a top reason those at high risk are not getting screened is that their doctor never recommended it.

Dr. Samir Soneji, an American Lung Association Lung Cancer Discovery Award recipient, found a similar trend in his research. His article recently published in the American Journal of Public Health looked at the challenges patients and healthcare providers face to fully embrace lung cancer screening for the high-risk population.  

He concluded that most people who are eligible for lung cancer screening are not receiving it, and recommends public awareness campaigns to reduce reluctance and misinformation around lung cancer screenings, while increasing the number of people who receive them.

It's clear that more needs to be done to educate high-risk Americans about lung cancer screening. And we are working harder than ever to bring more attention to lung cancer screening by educating patients and also healthcare providers.

We recently kicked off our new public service advertising campaign with the Ad Council, "Saved By The Scan," which aims to raise awareness of the benefits of early detection and motivate individuals at high risk for lung cancer to talk to their doctor about low-dose CT scans. And, our Lung HelpLine continues to serve as a nationwide resource for anyone with questions about lung health questions.

You can help, too. We encourage you to use the following tips to spread awareness about lung cancer screening:

  1. Share videos and resources from "Saved By the Scan" on your social media networks. You never know who in your network will pay attention. It could result in a life saved.
  2. Talk one-on-one with your friends and loved ones who meet the high-risk criteria.  Follow these tips for how to communicate with someone about getting screened for lung cancer.
  3. Encourage people to take the quiz to see if they are eligible for lung cancer screening. And if they are, they should  tell their doctor exactly what they want. Only a low-dose CT scan is recommended for lung cancer screening, not a chest X-ray.  
  4. If you’ve been screened, tell your story. Sharing your experience with lung cancer screening can encourage others to get screened.
  5. Test your primary care doctor’s knowledge. Are you in for a regular checkup? Ask your primary care doctor if they know the guidelines for lung cancer screening. Encourage them to visit if they are unclear.

With the availability of lung cancer screening, we have a powerful opportunity to save lives and turn the tide against lung cancer. Approximately 9 million people in America are at high risk for lung cancer and eligible for screening. We need to make sure they know about it.

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