Eric Hart, MD, and Kim Sandler, MD, Co-Chairs of the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Lung Cancer Screening 2.0 Committee, contributed this piece.
In 2022 alone, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 236,740 people in the United States will be diagnosed with lung cancer, and about 130,180 will die. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and your American College of Radiology is taking steps to save more lives from this harmful disease.
Anyone with lungs can get lung cancer, and certain people are at an increased risk. If you, a loved one or your patients have a history of smoking tobacco; exposure to radon, asbestos, or other cancer-causing agents; a personal or family history of lung cancer; or suffer from certain chronic lung diseases, it’s important to talk with your doctor about preventive lung cancer screening (LCS). All individuals between 50-80 years old with a 20 (or more) pack year smoking history who are currently smoking or who have quit within the past 15 years are eligible for low-dose CT (LDCT) screening of the lungs.
This Saturday, November 12 , the ACR – in collaboration with the American Cancer Society’s National Lung Cancer Roundtable; the Radiology Health Equity Coalition, with ACR as a founding “Mobilization Team” member; and the Go2 Foundation – will host the first-ever National Lung Cancer Screening Day. More than 250 locations offering lung cancer screening with LDCT will open their doors on a Saturday to provide exams for qualified individuals who cannot take time off from work, or who have otherwise been challenged in arranging their screening. This unique event will not only help many receive a potentially lifesaving screening but will also help raise awareness in communities across the US.
Access to and utilization of LCS has been particularly challenging for rural and racial/ethnic minority populations, who are more likely to live at least 30 minutes away from a designated LCS center, be underinsured and have lower health literacy levels. Inadequate access to care and low utilization rates for LCS present an opportunity for medical professionals, cancer centers, health systems, patient and caregiver advocates, community health organizations, payers, and industry partners to work together to promote health equity, reduce healthcare disparities, and enhance accessibility to lifesaving and effective lung cancer screening. In fact, the President’s Cancer Panel recommends lung cancer screening as the single most effective strategy for reducing mortality from the disease and closing the gap in health equity.
To further help patients and families actively engage in shared decision making with their physicians, the ACR Commission on Patient- and- Family-Centered Care Patient Engagement Committee recently released a new animated video on Lung Cancer Screening, part of a larger animated video series. Each video is approximately one minute in length – consistent with the way many people seek information today, and short enough to be shared on social media.
On Nov. 16, please join Debra S. Dyer, MD, FACR and Ella Kazerooni, MD, MS, FACR, FSABI, for a closing summary of our seven-part ACR-NLCRT Lung Cancer Webinar Series along with actionable items from each webinar.
Together, we can make a difference. Please help patients locate their nearest lung cancer screening center. Let us know if your lung cancer screening center's information needs to be updated or added. And sign up to support the first National Lung Cancer Screening Day.