LUNG FORCE

Frequently Asked Questions about LUNG FORCE

LUNG FORCE is a nationwide initiative led by the American Lung Association to unite women, men and their caregivers to stand together against lung cancer. Every day, lung cancer takes the lives of more than 382 of our friends, neighbors and loved ones. 

We raise our voices to increase awareness of lung cancer and work to provide hope to all those impacted by the disease and save more lives.

  • We aim to change people’s minds about what it means to have lung cancer—so that everyone understands that anyone can get lung cancer.
  • We raise our voices for research innovation that will lead to new treatments and better methods of early detection.

The Lung Association is committed to a comprehensive approach to defeat lung cancer. Efforts in prevention, early detection, awareness, research and support all move us closer to making sure fewer people are diagnosed and those who are diagnosed, live longer. Here are a few things we are doing in each key area:

Prevention

  • There are several risk factors for lung cancer. Tobacco is the greatest risk factor and we want to ensure that anyone who wants to quit smoking has the resources to do so. Our Freedom From Smoking® program is the gold standard in quit smoking programs.
  • Our tobacco control policy efforts include advocating for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and eliminating smoking in all public places and workplaces. We also work with federal and state governments to enact policies including increased tobacco taxes, quit smoking funding, and access to robust insurance coverage. Learn more >>
  • Radon is the second leading risk factor for lung cancer. Radon is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that can build up in homes and workplaces to dangerous levels. We continue to educate the public about radon and were leaders in developing the National Radon Action Plan. Learn more>>
  • Another risk factor for lung cancer is air pollution. The American Lung Association has led the fight for healthy air for more than 50 years. Our primary tool is advocacy. We work to influence public policy and ensure enforcement of laws that help us clean up our air. Whether in the courtroom or on Capitol Hill, we constantly work to make the air we all share cleaner and healthier. Learn more>>
  • We also raise awareness through LUNG FORCE that anyone can get lung cancer and no one deserves the disease. Increased awareness is key to marshalling research funding, encouraging lung cancer screening, and reducing stigma around the disease.

Early Detection

  • Lung cancer screening through a low-dose CT scan is recommended for those who meet certain high-risk criteria based on age and smoking history. We played a key role in getting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to cover screening for the high-risk population and recently expanding the screening criteria. To raise awareness about lung cancer screening and encourage those who might be eligible to speak with their doctor, the Ad Council and the American Lung Association created the award-winning public awareness campaign – "Saved By The Scan. The “Saved By The Scan” campaign has enabled over 635,000 Americans to learn if they are at high risk for lung cancer since 2017. Learn more>>

Awareness

  • Through LUNG FORCE Walks, Expos, sharing LUNG FORCE Hero stories, State of Lung Cancer report,  media events and more, we are raising awareness of lung cancer.
  • Our efforts to unite the nation to defeat lung cancer are making a difference. 29% of Americans now know that lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of women and men, an 8% increase from the 2020 Lung Health Barometer. Learn more>>
  • We are also committed to addressing lung cancer stigma. We've conducted research to better understand stigma and how to reduce it through messaging. Several key resources including a report, a training and blog post emerged out of our research. Learn more>>

Research

  • The Lung Association supports lung cancer research so we can help prevent lung cancer cases, and prolong the lives of lung cancer patients. Lung Association lung cancer researchers and their colleagues worldwide have made significant contributions to the field of lung cancer. Since the inception of LUNG FORCE in 2014, the American Lung Association has provided over $22 million in lung cancer research funding. Learn more>>
  • Hundreds of LUNG FORCE Heroes from across the country have raised their voices since 2016 to urge their members of Congress in Washington, D.C., to support robust, sustainable and predictable federal funding increases for lung cancer research, as well as quality and affordable healthcare through our LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day event. Learn more>>

Support for Patients and Caregivers

  • Our Lung Cancer HelpLine is staffed by healthcare professionals eager to help answer any lung health questions patients and caregivers may have. Learn more>>
  • Our Lung Cancer Survivors online support community is a place for patients and caregivers to connect with others who are facing lung cancer and receive support and guidance. Learn more>>

The lung cancer section of our website contains comprehensive, easy-to-understand information and resources for anyone facing lung cancer. Our Lung Cancer Treatment Planning tool can help you work with your doctor to make treatment decisions. Learn more>>

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., and despite its undeniable impact on our nation, the disease often remains in the shadows. While there are many misconceptions about lung cancer, the fact is that anyone can get it and no one deserves it. Every day, lung cancer takes the lives more than 382 of our friends, neighbors and loved ones.

With the advent of new lung cancer screening guidelines and other advances in personalized and targeted medicine, this is a critical moment in time. We must now help advance the conversation and make a difference in the efforts to defeat lung cancer.

Why is there new hope for those impacted by lung cancer? 

While lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., the survival rate has increased 33% in the past 10 years. Since 2016, over 40 new lung cancer treatments have been approved by the U.S. FDA, providing life and hope to those living with the disease. 

While lung cancer is the major focus of the LUNG FORCE movement, the American Lung Association is also committed to fighting all lung diseases and will continue our efforts to provide support, critical resources and funding for our programs focused on COPD and asthma, among many others.

As an organization, we are devoted to improving the lung health of all people.

The color turquoise and the “whoosh of breath” icon both are reminiscent of air, breathing and healthy lungs. It also symbolizes the “force” that it will take to change the statistics about lung health. This particular color of blue—turquoise—is also a color often used by other lung health organizations. And because we want to build a movement, we wanted to choose a color that would work well for the whole community.

Since LUNG FORCE launched in 2014, we have invested more than $22 million in lung cancer research We have also invested millions of dollars to increase public health promotion including awareness of lung cancer screening, providing patients with information about clinical trials, personalized medicine and direct patient support. Donations will help benefit LUNG FORCE and the overall mission of the American Lung Association. Your financial contribution supports research, program development, public policy, and sharing up-to-date information on lung cancer treatment and management.

This is a widely debated topic. Research shows us that opinions vary widely, in some cases, depend on smoking status. The data is clear: anyone can get lung cancer, whether they ever smoked or not. Prevention and cessation have saved millions of lives and been integral to the Lung Association’s mission for over 50 years.

Strong prevention messages have succeeded in cementing the public’s view that lung cancer and smoking are related. However, an unintended consequence of this successful messaging has been the stigma many smokers, former smokers and non-smokers feel. The first question people ask upon hearing about another person’s diagnosis is often “Did they smoke?” The stigma makes current or former smokers feel that they could somehow be to blame, as if anyone deserves this terrible disease. And, for never smokers, the stigma makes them believe they get less empathy for their diagnosis.

Lastly, we commend those who want to take the step to quit smoking and want to ensure they are aware that the Lung Association supports them and has many resources that can help.

  • LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day
    During LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day (March or April), our LUNG FORCE Heroes come together to urge senators and representatives in Washington, D.C. to support robust and sustained federal funding increase for lung cancer research.  
  • Turquoise Takeover
    Each year during the second week of May, we turn the nation our signature color – turquoise – and tell the stories of those impacted by lung cancer to change the public’s perception about the disease. 
  • World Lung Cancer Day  
    August 1 is World Lung Cancer Day. LUNG FORCE is proud to raise awareness as a part of this global observance and feature new resources and patient stories.
  • Lung Cancer Awareness Month
    November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month—it is a time to raise awareness about lung cancer, why lung health is important and help make a difference. Share your voice and join the movement during this critical month.

While lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., the survival rate has increased 33% in the past 10 years. Since 2016, over 40 new lung cancer treatments have been approved by the U.S. FDA, providing life and hope to those living with the disease.

Page last updated: December 21, 2021

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