|Keywords:||Lung Cancer, Smoking, Lung Cancer Screening, Lung Cancer Research, African Americans|
African Americans are diagnosed with and die from lung cancer more than any other demographic group in the United States. But that does not have to be the case. We have resources to eliminate those disparities!
African Americans are more likely to get lung cancer, and more likely to die from it.
African American men especially have an increased risk, and are 37 percent more likely to develop lung cancer despite a low overall exposure to cigarette smoke, the primary risk factor for lung cancer.
But research tells us that if African Americans get screened and their disease is detected early, they have an equal chance at survival as other patients.
UC Davis has several clinical trials for lung cancer patients available at any given time. Clinical trials, also known as “clinical research studies”, or “clinical studies”, are studies in human volunteers that try to answer specific health questions. Some clinical trials measure the safety and effectiveness of potential new treatments. Other clinical trials observe health issues and behaviors in large groups of people.
The importance of enrollment in clinical trials is not to be underestimated. Studies have found that patients who have participated in lung cancer clinical trials exhibited a cancer specific survival benefit. However, people of color, especially African Americans are less likely to participate in lung cancer clinical trials.
Lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scanning for people at high risk was proven to be effective in 2011, and saves lives. Yet, of the more than 7.6 million Americans eligible for screening, only 2 percent have been screened. Most Americans don’t know that lung cancer screening is covered by most health care plans, Medicare and Medi-Cal with minimal or zero costs.
The problem is that most doctors aren’t recommending it. And like mammography for breast cancer, the eligibility criteria for lung cancer screening is well established. Any adult 55 to 80 who has a 30 pack-year history of smoking (equal to the number of packs smoked per day multiplied by the number of years smoked) and either smokes currently or has quit within the past 15 years is eligible.
Lung cancer screening is a game changer. Most lung cancers detected by the scan are stages I or II with the highest rate of cure, especially today with advanced treatments like minimally invasive surgery and targeted and immunotherapies.
Screening is easy, too. Low-dose CT is a special X-ray. A patient’s doctor will order the scan after discussing the risks and benefits of the exam. It takes no more than 10 minutes. There are no needles involved. A radiologist reviews the scan and sends the results back to the doctor who ordered it. The patient typically learns the results within a few days. Lung cancer screening is accessible at UC Davis Health as part of our Comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Program.
Yearly screening is recommended if you are:
Click on link below to learn more about the Comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Program.
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