In the United States, 7 million people are former and current smokers. However, only 1.9 percent of eligible candidates were screened for lung cancer.
No One Is Listening
On Wednesday, May 16, the American Society of Clinical Oncology released a study revealing that despite the recommendations from both the United States Preventative Service Task Force and ASCO, only a small number of people was screened for lung cancer. The study was released ahead of ASCO's annual gathering in Chicago.
The Study Details
The study tracked people who received low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screenings across the country. They also separated the data into four areas of the United States: Northeast, South, Midwest, and West. ASCO calculated the screen rate by dividing the number of LDCT scans by the number of eligible smokers.
They found that while the South had the most eligible people (3,072,095 people), only 1.6 percent of candidates were screened. The Northeast region had the highest screening rate of 3.5 percent. Only 141,260 people received LDCT screenings.
Lung Cancer Screening
The American Cancer Society released criteria that health professionals published regarding lung cancer screening. Patients must be 55 to 74 years old. They also must not have any symptoms of the disease or have anything that might prevent them from getting screened such as relying on oxygen machines. Other criteria that people must meet include having a 30 pack-year smoking history and either still smoking or quit it within the last 15 years.
"People are not aware that this is a test that can actually save lives. It's not invasive, it's not painful, there's no prep, nothing has to be stuck into any body cavity, [so to see so little use] is shocking," said Dr. Richard Schilsky, the American Society of Clinical Oncology chief medical officer.
The Cancer Corner
On April 24, nurse Amanda Eller released two viral videos on Facebook that showcased two sets of lungs. One set of lungs belonged to a smoker who smoked cigarettes for 20 years, while the other set of lungs belonged to someone who never smoked. There were significant differences between the two lungs. The smoker lungs were blackened, while the non-smoker lungs were red and elastic. The video received over 12,000 reactions.
In a study, doctors found that immunotherapy could give lung cancer patients extra years of life and might improve survival rates. The study involved the recent FDA approved drug Keytruda. Once doctors administered the drug to patient alongside chemotherapy, the risk of death or having cancer become worse was cut in half compared to chemotherapy alone after almost a year.
According to a study published in the JAMA Oncology journal, women who have more muscle mass in their bodies were more likely to survive breast cancer. The study worked with over 3,000 women who were diagnosed with stage II and stage III breast cancer from January 2000 to December 2013. Researchers found that higher muscle mass leads to higher survival rates, regardless of the age or cancer stage of women.
Tech Times reached out to the American Cancer Society for comments on this story.