Lung Cancer Screening Could Save Your Life

Jorge Gomez, M.D., an oncologist and American Lung Association volunteer spokesperson, discusses why lung cancer is so deadly as well as the advancements in treatment and lung cancer screening. Dr. Gomez shares how screening can save lives and who qualifies for the screening.

Lung cancer is a terrible disease. It's the number one cancer killer in the U.S. in both men and women, and one of the reasons it's such a deadly disease is that it grows silently. It can grow for a very long time without causing any symptoms, and at the moment that it causes symptoms, it usually has then spread outside of the lungs and becomes incurable.

We've had tremendous advances in the treatment options for lung cancer in the past few years. Since 2016, 13 drugs have been approved by the FDA.

Another great advance is the availability of lung cancer screening for patients who are at high risk for this disease. Screening allows for an earlier diagnosis when cancers are more curable. In fact, survival rates are five times higher when lung cancer is detected early. Approximately, eight million people in the United States are at high risk for lung cancer and qualify for screening. If only half of this group were screened, more than 12,000 lives could be saved.

The American Lung Association is dedicated to defeating lung cancer. And to save lives, we've launched the "Saved by the Scan" campaign with the Ad Council, to raise awareness about lung cancer screening.

Lung cancer screening is recommended for individuals between the age of 55 and 80, who have smoked a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years, and have quit less than 15 years in the past, or are still smoking.

And there's no cost associated with screening for many patients who meet that criteria.

Talk to your doctor about lung cancer. Talk to your doctor about the risk of lung cancer, and whether or not you qualify for lung cancer screening. You can also look at to read about screening and about your risk. Lung cancer screening might save your life.

Visit for more information.

Page last updated: March 22, 2020

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