Free online tool encourages early detection of lung cancer helps determine eligibility for low dose CT scan
Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 3:02 PM EST
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Maine (WABI) - Maine has the 6th highest rate of new lung cancer cases in the United States, according to the Maine Lung Cancer Coalition.

75% of those cases are detected late and are often not treatable.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

As Joy Hollowell reports, screening for the disease is easier than you think.


“The bottom line is- anyone with lungs can get lung cancer,” says Lance Boucher, Assistant Vice President and State Public Policy for the American Lung Association.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women. But according to a new report by the American Lung Association, only about a tenth of adults surveyed understand that lung cancer is among the most likely cancers to affect women. And only 36% know that lung cancer screening is now available for early detection in those at high risk.

The American Lung Association is hoping its program can help change that statistic. The online tool specifically targets current smokers or those who have quit in the last 15 years.

“Individuals can put in a little bit of data, about their age, their smoking history and that will then tell them if they are eligible based on guidelines, for a low dose CT scan,” explains Boucher, “And it gives them a guide to have a conversation with their doctor.”

In addition to tobacco use, Mainers in particular are susceptible to radon exposure.

“Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer,” says Boucher, “and Maine does have pockets of the state with higher areas of radon.”

According to Boucher, the five-year survival rate for lung cancer has increased 33% in the last decade.

“Just in the last 5 years alone, 40 new therapies have come on and been approved by the FDA to treat lung cancer,” says Boucher. “They’re targeted gene therapies, immunotherapies. Early detection is key and it does open the door to a host of opportunities for treatment and a care plan.”

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