New Study from American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE Reveals Low Awareness of Lifesaving Lung Cancer Screening Among Those at Greatest RiskLow-dose CT scan is underutilized among high-risk population; only 15 percent are aware screening is recommended and covered by Medicare and most healthcare plans at no cost
CHICAGO, IL | November 1, 2017
Lung cancer is the nation's leading cause of cancer death. According to the American Lung Association, screening can save thousands of lives, yet less than 5 percent of the estimated 9 million Americans considered "high risk" have been screened.1, 2 In recognition of Lung Cancer Awareness Month this November, the American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE initiative, nationally presented by CVS Health, remains committed to raising awareness of lung cancer and the benefits of early detection through lung cancer screening. Today, the organization released findings from its 4th annual Lung Health Barometer, which revealed a critically low awareness of the lifesaving potential of lung cancer screening.
The Lung Health Barometer is a survey designed to better understand what Americans know about lung cancer and lung cancer screening. This year’s survey included 1,400 people, both women and men and high-risk current and former smokers.
Among the high-risk population, the survey revealed:
- 84 percent of high-risk Americans are unfamiliar with the only recommended lung cancer screening method 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.
- The top reason those at high risk for lung cancer are not getting screened is that their doctor never recommended it.
Among the general population, the survey revealed:
- Only 3 percent of women cite lung cancer as a top-of-mind health concern, when in fact, one woman in the U.S. is diagnosed with lung cancer every 5 minutes.
- 87 percent of the general population is not familiar with the low-dose CT scan, the only approved lung cancer screening aimed at early detection.
- The majority of the general population (62 percent) believe that not enough is being done to raise awareness of lung cancer.
The low-dose CT scan has the ability to save lives, and to raise public awareness about the new availability of screening for those considered at high risk, the American Lung Association recently partnered with the Ad Council to launch "Saved By The Scan."
"Saved By The Scan" is the first national public service advertising (PSA) campaign that educates Americans on the benefits of early detection through lung cancer screening and encourages high-risk individuals to take an online lung cancer screening eligibility quiz at SavedByTheScan.org. The low-dose CT scan is the only lung cancer screening tool that reduces the risk of dying from lung cancer by detecting lung cancer in the early stages before symptoms arise when the disease is more curable.
"The availability of lung cancer screening presents a powerful opportunity to save lives and turn the tide against lung cancer. To make this a reality, we must do more to ensure that those at high risk are aware of screening and that it can save their lives," said American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer. "The American Lung Association is committed to defeating lung cancer, and this effort to raise awareness about screening is driven through our partnership with the Ad Council on the 'Saved By The Scan' campaign throughout Lung Cancer Awareness Month and beyond."
There are an estimated 9 million Americans who qualify as "high risk" for developing lung cancer and should talk to their doctor about screening. A person is considered high risk if they are between 55–80 years old, have a 30 pack-year history of smoking (this means 1 pack a day for 30 years, 2 packs a day for 15 years, etc.), and are a current smoker or have quit within the last 15 years. The new availability of the low-dose CT scan at no cost from Medicare and most healthcare plans is a powerful opportunity to save lives because the key to defeating lung cancer is early detection. In fact, if the disease is caught before it spreads, the likelihood of surviving five years improves from 11 to 55 percent. If only half of the Americans at high risk were screened, about 15,000 lives would be saved.
"I am honored to be a part of the 'Saved by the Scan' campaign to raise awareness of the low-dose CT scan among current and former smokers. It was by chance that I learned about this lifesaving technology and I could not be more grateful,” said Frank Flahive, a LUNG FORCE advocate and lung cancer survivor. “I am living proof that as a former smoker you can go from scan to cancer survivor – that’s the benefit of early detection with the low-dose CT scan. I encourage others who meet the screening criteria to discuss the scan with their doctors because it certainly saved my life."
To learn more about lung cancer and its risk factors, high-risk individuals are encouraged to take a lung cancer screening eligibility quiz at SavedByTheScan.org.
In honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, GSK Consumer Healthcare and eBay for Charity are joining the fight against lung cancer and supporting LUNG FORCE.
- From October 29 through December 2, 2017, for every box of Nicorette® or NicoDerm® CQ® purchased at CVS Pharmacy, GSK Consumer Healthcare will donate $1, up to $100,000, to LUNG FORCE.*
- From November 12 through November 19, 2017, eBay for Charity is featuring the American Lung Association as their exclusive Give at Checkout charity. Customers can select the American Lung Association as their favorite charity on eBay and 100 percent of donations will go to the Lung Association.
All donations will support LUNG FORCE's investment in lung cancer research and patient education—including lung cancer prevention, early detection, tumor testing and advocacy for more federal research funding.
Additionally, in an effort to defeat lung cancer the American Lung Association has increased its investment in lung cancer research by 167 percent since launching LUNG FORCE in 2014, and the organization also recently announced its single largest investment in lung cancer research to date. In collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer and the LUNGevity Foundation, the organizations will co-fund two lung cancer research awards - the Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team Award at $5 million, which seeks to stop lung cancer before it starts and a Lung Cancer Interception Translational Research Award at $2 million, which seeks to improve the accuracy of low-dose CT scans by adding companion blood tests. More information on these awards and the Lung Association’s investments in research can be found at Lung.org/research.
For more information on the American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE initiative, the "Saved By The Scan" campaign, lung cancer research funding or to make a donation, visit LUNGFORCE.org.
*Purchases made between 10/29/17 – 12/2/17, up to $100,000 donation amount. Promotion ends on 12/2/17 or at $100,000 goal, whichever comes first. The American Lung Association does not endorse any product, device or service.
1. Soneji, S., Yang, J., Tanner, N. T., Dang, R., Silvestri, G. A., & Black, W. (2017). Underuse of Chest Radiography Versus Computed Tomography for Lung Cancer Screening. American Journal of Public Health. 2017; 107(8), 1248-1250. doi:10.2105/ajph.2017.303919
2. McKee, A. , October 17, 2017, based on ACR Registry, personal communication.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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