Every two and half minutes, someone in the United States is told that they have lung cancer – the nation’s leading cause of cancer deaths. Every single day 400 people lose their lives to this devastating disease, according to the American Lung Association (ALA). Another noteworthy statistic: in the last 41 years, lung cancer incidence has increased 87 percent among women.

The ALA through it’s LUNG FORCE initiative and a partnership with Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), is using November’s status as Lung Cancer Awareness Month to rally support and action to combat this deadly disease.

Early screening could save 25k lives

Some of the facts highlighted in this campaign include:

  • The five-year survival rate is only 18.6 percent for lung cancer.
  • 48 percent of women diagnosed with lung cancer will not survive one year after diagnosis, as lung cancer is most often diagnosed at later stages when the disease is less curable.
  • If lung cancer is caught before it spreads, the likelihood of surviving five years or more improves to 56 percent.
  • While smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, exposure to radon gas, air pollution, asbestos and secondhand smoke are also known causes of lung cancer.
  • Early detection of lung cancer through lung cancer screening and more treatment options for those diagnosed translates to higher survival rates.
  • If everyone considered at high risk for lung cancer were screened, about 25,000 lives would be saved.

Turning awareness into action

"There's no sugar coating the fact that lung cancer kills more Americans each year than any other cancer," said Dr. Patricia Rich, Medical Oncology Director, CTCA Lung Cancer Institute and Vice Chief of Staff, CTCA Atlanta. "We are thrilled to collaborate with the American Lung Association on this critical awareness campaign. But most importantly, we need to turn awareness into action, which means more people sharing the LUNG FORCE message and more support for much-needed research in this area."

Not What You Think, an interactive social media and awareness campaign, will inspire people to take action and get involved in the American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE, an initiative that unites individuals impacted by lung cancer to raise awareness and funds for lung cancer research, health education and support for patients, caregivers and health care providers. At LUNGFORCE.org/ctca, those at high risk for lung cancer can learn about screening options; patients and caregivers can access resources and support; survivors can share their inspiring stories and connect with others and supporters can sign up for LUNG FORCE Walks and donate to the cause.

"We need more voices joining the cause to advocate for lung cancer patients, their family and friends," said American Lung Association Chief Mission Officer Deb Brown. "By letting the facts speak for themselves, we are allowing these shocking, in-your-face lung cancer statistics be the motivation for individuals to take action now."

The ALA is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy.