Lung Cancer Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths in PA, Yet Most are Not Concerned about Getting the Disease

Here in Pennsylvania and across the nation, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths, however a survey shows that only 40% of Americans are concerned that they might get lung cancer and only about one in five have talked to their doctor about their risk for the disease. The American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative released the 2022 Lung Health Barometer, a national survey that examines awareness, attitudes and beliefs about lung cancer.

In Pennsylvania, it is estimated that 11,170 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2022, and 5,990 people will die from the disease. But there is hope. The lung cancer survival rate has risen substantially, and awareness of this deadly disease has steadily increased. Greater awareness of lung cancer is key to securing research funding, encouraging lung cancer screening, reducing stigma around this disease, and ultimately, saving lives.

“One of the most impactful things we can do in Pennsylvania is to raise awareness about lifesaving lung cancer screening. Currently, only 8% of residents at high risk for lung cancer have received a low-dose CT scan lung cancer screening,” said Deborah Brown, Chief Mission Officer at the Lung Association. “Lung cancer screening is key to early diagnosis, and early diagnosis saves lives.”

While awareness about lung cancer screening is still low, there has been significant work done recently to increase eligibility. Last year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force expanded the guidelines for screening to include individuals ages 50 to 80 years who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. This nearly doubled the number of individuals eligible for screening and has the potential to save significantly more lives than previous guidelines. Learn more about lung cancer screening at SavedbytheScan.org.

The 2022 Lung Health Barometer surveyed 4,000 Americans nationwide about lung cancer. Key findings show that:

  • Only about one in four respondents (26%) were aware that the lung cancer survival rate increased by over 30% in the past ten years.
  • 73% of adults have not spoken with their doctor about their risk for lung cancer and only 40% are concerned they might get the disease.
  • Only 29% of Americans know that lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the U.S.
  • Nearly 70% of respondents were not familiar with the availability of lung cancer screening for early detection of the disease.

See more Lung Health Barometer survey results here.

This is the seventh year of the Lung Health Barometer, which is conducted by the Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative. LUNG FORCE unites those impacted by lung cancer and their caregivers across the country to stand together against lung cancer.