Lung Cancer is the Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths in Iowa, Yet Survey Reveals Most Americans are Not Concerned About Getting the Disease

Lung Association releases data that examines people’s knowledge about the disease on World Lung Cancer Day

Here in Iowa and across the nation, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths. However, survey data released today on World Lung Cancer Day by the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative show that only 40% of Americans are concerned that they might get lung cancer. The data also show only about one in five people have talked to their doctor about their risk for the disease. The 2022 Lung Health Barometer is a national survey that examines awareness, attitudes and beliefs about lung cancer.

“One of the most impactful things we can do in Iowa is to raise awareness about lifesaving lung cancer screening. Currently, only 11% of Iowa residents at high risk for lung cancer have received a low-dose CT scan lung cancer screening,” said Kristina Hamilton, advocacy director at the Lung Association. “Lung cancer screening is key to early diagnosis, and early diagnosis saves lives.”

In Iowa, it is estimated that 2,530 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2022, and 1,450 people will die from the disease. Additionally, the entire state of Iowa is considered to be a high-risk zone for radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer. But there is hope. The lung cancer survival rate has risen substantially, and awareness of this deadly disease has steadily increased. Greater awareness of lung cancer is key to securing research funding, encouraging lung cancer screening, reducing stigma around the disease, and ultimately, saving lives.

While awareness for lung cancer screening is still low, the United States has made significant progress to increase eligibility. Last year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force expanded the guidelines for screening to include individuals ages 50 to 80 years who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. This nearly doubled the number of individuals eligible for screening and has the potential to save significantly more lives than previous guidelines. Learn more about lung cancer screening at SavedbytheScan.org

The 2022 Lung Health Barometer surveyed 4,000 Americans nationwide about lung cancer. Key findings show that: 

  • Only about one in four respondents (26%) were aware that the lung cancer survival rate increased by over 30% in the past ten years.
  • 73% of adults have not spoken with their doctor about their risk for lung cancer and only 40% are concerned they might get the disease. 
  • Only 29% of Americans know that lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the U.S.
  • Nearly 70% of respondents were not familiar with the availability of lung cancer screening for early detection of the disease.

See more Lung Health Barometer survey results here.

This is the seventh year of the Lung Health Barometer, which is conducted by the Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative. LUNG FORCE unites those impacted by lung cancer and their caregivers across the country to stand together against lung cancer. 

For more information, contact:

Dana Kauffman
312-940-7624
[email protected]

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