WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Unlike mammography for breast cancer or colonoscopy for colon cancer, there has been no widely accepted screening tool to detect lung cancer at an early stage. With the growing consensus that annual low-dose CT screening should be recommended for individuals at high risk for lung cancer, the American Lung Association is launching an online tool to help users determine whether they meet the guidelines to be screened by CT for lung cancer. If this screening were widely implemented, 3,000 to 4,000 lives could be saved annually.
The timing of the launch of the online tool, LungCancerScreeningSavesLives.org, leads up to Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November. The site asks visitors a series of questions that helps determine whether they meet the guidelines to be screened for lung cancer.
"Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in America. This new online assessment tool is a first step toward promoting low-dose screenings that can help identify lung cancers at an earlier, treatable stage, so we can save the lives of people who otherwise might not have been cured," says Albert Rizzo, M.D., former American Lung Association National Board Chair and member of the Lung Association's Lung Cancer Screening Panel and chief of Christiana Care Health System's Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Section.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently issued draft recommendations for annual low-dose CT screening for individuals at high risk for lung cancer; an estimated seven million Americans. This includes current or former smokers, ages 55-79, who have smoked the equivalent of a pack a day for 30 years and have smoked within the past 15 years.
"If this tool and screening were around just a few years ago and lung cancer could have been detected in its early stages, my husband might still be here with me," said Robin Scaramella from Chicago who lost her husband five years ago to lung cancer.
"We're excited about launching this tool and the low-dose screenings. It's a big step in the fight against lung cancer," said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "The Lung Association released guidelines on low-dose lung cancer screenings in 2012, based on the National Cancer Institute's National Lung Cancer Screening Trial. The USPSTF's recommendations further the opportunity to raise awareness about the availability of a tool for early detection, ultimately increasing lung cancer survival rates." The Lung Association has created this online tool to help people understand quickly whether they are candidates for low-dose CT screening.
In addition to the online lung cancer screening assessment tool, the Lung Association provides several resources for lung cancer patients and their caregivers, including: Facing Lung Cancer from Day One, an online tool with valuable educational and supportive resources; and the Lung Connection, an online community for people living with lung disease. The Lung HelpLine can also answer questions about lung health or CT screenings; calls are toll-free at 1-800-LUNG-USA.
American Lung Association Website
Video with caption: "Is Lung Cancer Screening Right For You?" Video available at: http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/PRNA/ENR/FX-MM03873-20131024-2.mp4
Image with caption: "Infographic - Lung Cancer Facts. How much do you know about the #1 cancer killer in America?" Image available at: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131024/MM03873-INFO-a
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SOURCE American Lung Association