Lung cancer: rate high, awareness low

Staff report

COLUMBUS — Lung cancer is the top cancer killer of both women and men, killing almost twice as many women as any other cancer.

Anyone can get lung cancer, yet awareness among women remains low. In honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November, the American Lung Association in Ohio has encouraged everyone in Ohio to learn more about lung cancer, as greater awareness can save lives.

Lung cancer diagnoses have nearly doubled among all women in the past 37 years, yet only 1 percent of women cite lung cancer as a top-of-mind cancer concern. To raise awareness about lung cancer, the American Lung Association launched Lung Force, a nationwide initiative that unites women in the fight against lung cancer, encouraging them to raise their voices for change.

“Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer among women, and unfortunately, most lung cancer cases are not diagnosed until later when treatment options are limited,” said Barry Gottschalk, president and CEO, of the American Lung Association of the Midland States, which serves Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee. “Early diagnosis and treatment can save lives, that’s why we’re raising awareness about this disease and screening options.”

Currently, only 17 percent of lung cancer cases among women are diagnosed early, according to the Lung Association. However, this might change as millions of Americans at high risk for lung cancer now have access to potentially lifesaving lung cancer screening which can detect lung cancer before there are symptoms, when it is easier to treat.

“Screening provides new hope, but we also need a greater investment in research to defeat lung cancer,” said Dr. Jesse Roman, chairman of the Department of Medicine, University of Louisville Physicians Outpatient Center and a member of the ALAMS Board of Directors. “We desperately need more personalized treatment options and early detection methods for the more than 100,000 women who will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015, and 4,262 here in Ohio.”

Recognizing the need for increased research funding, the American Lung Association advocates for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute for better treatment and early detection of lung cancer. And through Lung Force, the organization will also invest $10 million in lung cancer research and $5 million in increasing public health promotion over five years.

“Lung cancer has been in the shadows for far too long. If you or a loved one has been touched by lung cancer, share your story to inspire others to do the same,” said Gottschalk.

Learn more about the risk and #ShareYourVoice to defeat lung cancer by visiting

LUNG FORCE Giving Day is Nov. 17.

Staff report