01 November 2017

Four Important Things Everyone Should Know about Lung Cancer Screening during Lung Cancer Awareness Month



Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer deaths, and every year 2,775 South Carolina residents are diagnosed with the disease.During Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative is highlighting the new availability of a lifesaving tool – lung cancer screening.

One reason why lung cancer is so deadly is because by the time you have symptoms, it may already have spread and become more difficult to treat. Lung cancer screening with a low-dose CT scan is a powerful tool to diagnose lung cancer in individuals who are at high risk at an early stage, when it is much more likely to be curable. An estimated 9 million Americans are considered at high risk for lung cancer, and if only half of those at high risk were screened, more than 15,000 could be saved. Despite this lifesaving opportunity, fewer than 5 percent of high-risk Americans have been screened for lung cancer.

“I had a front row seat to the devastation lung cancer takes on the lives of loved ones,” said Shannon Skelly of Charleston, South Carolina, a LUNG FORCE committee member and longstanding volunteer. I was 28 years old when I lost my mother to lung cancer after her year-long battle with the disease.  Watching her struggle changed the course of my life. I am rapidly approaching the age my mother was when she lost her fight and with each passing year I question if I am doing enough to promote awareness about this disease. I am proud to stand with the Lung Association and I am committed to raising awareness about this disease, including the availability of lung cancer screening which will help save countless lives.”

According to the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative, here are the top four things everyone should know about lung cancer screening:

  1. A low-dose CT Scan is the only tool that reduces the lung cancer mortality rate for those at high risk. Low-dose CT scan is a special kind of X-ray that takes many pictures as you lie on a table that slides in and out of the machine. A computer then combines these pictures into a detailed picture of your body. It is painless and quick.
  1. Screening is not recommended for everyone. Screening is recommended for those considered at high risk for the disease. To learn more about your risk, take the lung cancer screening eligibility quiz at SavedByTheScan.org and speak to your doctor if you think you may be at risk.
  1. Awareness of lung cancer screening is critically low. Despite the lifesaving potential of screening, 84 percent of those who qualify are unfamiliar with the low-dose CT scan, according to the American Lung Association’s 4th annual Lung Health Barometer. To raise awareness about lung cancer screening, the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative has partnered with the Ad Council to launch the “Saved By The Scan” public awareness campaign – urging everyone to learn more about lung cancer screening.
  1. Screening is covered by most healthcare plans. Lung cancer screening is now covered by Medicare and most healthcare plans for those considered at high risk. However, according to the Lung Health Barometer, only 15 percent of those who qualify for screening are aware that it is covered by Medicare and most healthcare plans at no cost.