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As part of Lung Cancer Awareness Month this November, the American Lung Association Wisconsin is highlighting its LUNG FORCE initiative to raise awareness and much needed funds to help defeat lung cancer in women.
Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer of women. Yet, the disease is not even on women’s radar, according to the American Lung Association’s inaugural Women’s Lung Health Barometer — a survey that measured women’s awareness, knowledge and perceptions about lung cancer. When asked to identify cancers that affect women, only 1 percent cited lung cancer on a top-of-mind basis.
“Despite its overwhelming impact, it is clear that too few women are aware that anyone can get lung cancer,” said Linda Witucki, Executive Director for the American Lung Association in Wisconsin. “With greater education, advocacy and fundraising for research, through LUNG FORCE we are dedicated to increasing the Lung Association’s investment in lung cancer research and are pushing to increase the investment in cancer research at the National Institutes of Health.”
In Wisconsin, since 1995, lung cancer diagnoses in women have risen almost 12 percent, compared to a drop of almost 19 percent for men. In the same time period, lung cancer deaths in women are up almost 12 percent while the death rate for men has dropped 19 percent. Overall, Llung cancer causes more deaths than the next three cancers combined – breast, colon and pancreatic.
For many Americans, showing their support can mean giving their time in addition to donating money. The American Lung Association hosts more than 50 health education and fundraising LUNG FORCE Walks in communities across the country. People can also show their support by visiting LUNGFORCE.org to take the LUNG FORCE pledge, lend their voice by telling their story or advocating for more research and education. Lung Force Expos, which have also been launched nationwide, are a great opportunity for patients and healthcare professionals to learn more about the latest trends resources and research surrounding lung cancer and other diseases.
About Screening for Lung Cancer
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued draft recommendations for annual low-dose CT screening for individuals at high risk for lung cancer; close to an estimated 10 million Americans. This includes current or former smokers, ages 55-80, who have smoked the equivalent of a pack a day for 30 years and have smoked within the past 15 years. The American Lung Association offers an online tool – LungCancerScreeningSavesLives.org – to help people understand quickly whether they are at high-risk and candidates for low-dose CT screening. The site asks visitors a series of questions that helps determine whether they meet the USPSTF guidelines and should be screened for lung cancer.
Additional Lung Cancer Resources
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.
Reducing Your Risk
While anyone can get lung cancer, quitting smoking is the best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer. The American Lung Association has tools and tips to help smokers quit at http://www.quitterinyou.org, http://www.ffsonline.org and http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/. The Lung HelpLine is staffed with smoking cessation experts who can also answer your questions and help you on the path to becoming tobacco-free. Calls are toll-free at 1-800-LUNG-USA.