September 14, 2014

New hope in lung cancer fight

New research provides hope in the fight against lung cancer.

The American Lung Association in Wisconsin recommends new screening guidelines for at-risk individuals. Spokesperson Dona Wininsky says the guidelines promote early detection of lung cancer. The recommendations are based on results of the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial. “They discovered an increase in the survival rate of 20 percent on those who had these lose dose CT screenings and some of the early detection techniques.”

Improved detection at earlier stages is key to a better chance of survival. Wininsky explains, lung cancer is more easily treated during the early stages. “If you can catch lung cancer in stage one, the survival rate is actually 52 percent. Once you get past that, and unfortunately which is too often the case, those numbers drop dramatically.”

So, who should get tested? “The same study recommended that anyone who is a current or former smoker between the ages of 55 to 74 and has a smoking history of 30-pack years.” That means people who smoke one pack a day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years, or three packs a day for 7 1/2 years.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.; more people die from lung cancer than colon, breast, prostate, liver, kidney, and melanoma cancers combined.

During November’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the Lung Association is also launching a new website providing education and support for lung cancer patients, family members, and caregivers.  For more info visit: LungWI.org or call the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNG-USA.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:32