Jefferson Community Health & Life has joined the annual statewide effort organized by the Nebraska Cancer Coalition (NC2) to heighten awareness of lifesaving lung cancer screening during November, Lung Cancer Awareness month.
Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in Nebraska for both men and women. In 2023, the American Cancer Society estimates 1,340 new cases and 630 deaths from lung cancer in Nebraska. The stage of diagnosis strongly affects outcomes. The most recent Nebraska data indicates that the 5-year relative survival rates for lung cancer are 61% for early-stage diagnoses, while rates for later-stage cases fall to 34% for regional diagnoses and 7% for distant diagnoses.
“Lung cancer screening is critical, as symptoms often only become prevalent in later stages of the disease when it’s much more difficult to Breathe Easy and battle the disease. It’s important for Nebraskans with a history of smoking to talk to their health care provider about screening as soon as possible, especially those who have postponed appointments because of the pandemic,” said NC2 President Dr. Alan Thorson.
“Speaking with your primary care provider about cancer screening is something we encourage all Nebraskans to do. Take ownership of your heath and don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself,” stated Dr. Mike Romano, MD. “Physicians and healthcare providers appreciate patients who do so.”
Screening for lung cancer with a yearly low-dose CT scan for those at high risk can reduce the lung cancer death rate by up to 20% by detecting tumors at early stages when they are more likely to be curable according to the American Lung Association (ALA). Lung cancer screening is recommended by the CDC for people ages 50-80 years with a 20+ pack-year smoking history who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. In 2022, the ALA reported only 6% of Nebraskans at high risk for lung cancer were screened. It is critical that we spread the word that in order to Breathe Easy, Nebraskans should get screened for lung cancer.
Lung cancer screening is available at Jefferson Community Health & Life with a referral from your medical provider.