WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) – November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and the push is on to help save lives.
The American Lung Association has teamed up with the Ad Council to launch a Saved by the Scan campaign to encourage more people to take advantage of low-dose CT scans, because early detection is so important.
“Only 16 percent of lung cancer cases are found in an early stage when it’s most treatable and we are seeing that lung cancer has the lowest five year survival rates of many cancers,” explained Kaelyn Gates, Development Manager for the American Lung Association.
MORE | Click here to learn the facts about lung cancer.
Many of the statistics are alarming:
Every two minutes, someone in the United States is told they have lung cancer.
Every three to five minutes, someone in this country dies from lung cancer.
It is estimated that there will be 12,700 new lung or bronchus cancer diagnoses in New York State this year.
Lung cancer remains the number one cancer killer of both men and women in the U.S., causing more deaths than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer combined.
“If caught early, the survival rate is about 50 percent; if caught late, the survival rate is as low as five percent,” said Dr. Raja Cheruvu, a radiologist with Windsong Radiology.
Through the Saved By The Scan campaign, the American Lung Association is trying to spread the word about low-dose CT scans which are available to many people at no-cost. “The exam itself only takes a couple minutes, the whole process maybe an hour, and then you get your results within a couple days,” Dr. Cheruvu said.
The American Lung Association says about 9 million people in the United States currently qualify for this lung cancer screening to be covered by Medicare or private health insurance. If only half of those people got screened in the next few weeks, about 15,000 lives would be saved.
MORE | Get information about low-dose CT scans to to screen for lung cancer at SavedByTheScan.org
Those who are being targeted for the Saved by the Scan campaign fall into one of the highest risk groups of people ages 55-80 who are current smokers or who have quit smoking recently.
“But there are other health factors involved, including genetics, exposure to radon and air pollution, as well,” Gates advised.
Over the last 39 years, the lung cancer rate among women has increased 94 percent, while the rate among men has decreased over that time. Gates says the reason for that trend is not clear.
But, to help with critical cancer research and to help spread awareness about lung cancer, the American Lung Association is bringing its Lung Force initiative to Western New York next year. A Lung Force health expo is planned for March. A Lung Force Walk will be held in June.