HONOLULU — Here in Hawai‘i and across the nation, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths.
New survey data now show that only 40% of people in the United States are concerned that they might get lung cancer, and only about one in five have talked to their doctor about their risk for the disease.
On World Lung Cancer Day, the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative released the 2022 Lung Health Barometer, a national survey that examines awareness, attitudes and beliefs about lung cancer.
In Hawai‘i, it is estimated that 890 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2022, and 540 people will die from the disease.
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 this disease, and ultimately, saving lives.
“One of the most impactful things we can do in Hawai‘i is to raise awareness about lifesaving lung cancer screening. Currently, only 3% of residents at high risk for lung cancer have received a low-dose CT scan lung cancer screening,” said Pedro Haro, Executive Director of the Lung Association in Hawai‘i. “Lung cancer screening is key to early diagnosis, and early diagnosis saves lives. This is particularly relevant to Native Hawaiians, who have one of the highest rates of lung cancer of anyone in the nation.”
“The Hawai’i Legislature has taken bold action to improve prevention and treatment of lung cancer in the state with the passage of Senate Bill 3367 and signed by Gov. David Ige earlier this year, creating a task force to determine why the state has one of the lowest rates of early diagnosis of lung cancer,” added Haro.
While awareness about lung cancer screening is still low, there has been significant work done recently 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:
w Only about one in four respondents (26%) were aware that the lung cancer survival rate increased by over 30% in the past ten years.
w 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.
w Only 29% of Americans know that lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the U.S.
w Nearly 70% of respondents were not familiar with the availability of lung cancer screening for early detection of the disease.
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.
Source: The Garden Island