GLENVIEW, Illinois - In support of World Lung Cancer Day on August 1, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), of which the American College of Chest Physicians® (CHEST) is a founding member, stresses the importance of community action and early screening to prevent and treat lung cancer.
Responsible for 25% of all cancer deaths, lung cancer remains a topic for concern. According to the World Health Organization, each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and liver cancers combined. Worldwide, in 2020, there were 2.21 million new cases of lung cancer and 1.80 million deaths. Despite these alarming statistics, the rate of lung cancer is dropping because of tobacco cessation efforts.
“World Lung Cancer Day is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness for people affected by lung cancer and is also effective for its prevention, the most important being tobacco cessation,” says CHEST President, Steven Q. Simpson, MD, FCCP. “Eliminating tobacco use is the number one way to reduce lung cancer cases. Community can play an important role through education around preventable risk factors for lung cancer and the importance of early detection to most effectively treat lung cancer.”
To reduce the prevalence of lung cancer, the Centers for Disease Control recommends community action and education, including:
- Public education around lung cancer risk factors
- Reducing minors’ access to tobacco products and e-cigarettes
- Helping people quit using tobacco products
- Helping people avoid secondhand smoke
- Reducing exposure to radon
- Encouraging people to be screened for lung cancer as recommended
“To support tobacco cessation, CHEST created a Tobacco Dependence Treatment Toolkit for clinicians to help their patients along the path to quitting tobacco,” says Simpson. “It’s not an easy conversation to have with a patient, but with the right tools, a physician can be the support system needed to successfully quit.”
In addition to tobacco cessation, access to screening is vital for reducing lung cancer deaths through early detection and treatment. If lung cancer is found at an early stage, when it is small and before it has spread, it is more likely to be successfully treated.
Lung cancer screening with a low-dose tomography (also known as low-dose CT or LDCT) scan is recommended for at-risk people to detect the earliest stages of lung cancer before symptoms occur. The American Cancer Society recommends that all current or former smokers and those over the age of 55 consider seeking a low-dose CT scan screening to potentially detect lung cancer in its earliest stages.
When they present, lung cancer symptoms include change in mucus, chest or back pain, coughing up blood and difficulty swallowing. Timely and equitable access to health care for assessment and treatment is vital.
About the American College of Chest Physicians
The American College of Chest Physicians® (CHEST) is the global leader in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of chest diseases. Its mission is to champion advanced clinical practice, education, communication and research in chest medicine. It serves as an essential connection to clinical knowledge and resources for its 19,000+ members from around the world who provide patient care in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. For information about the American College of Chest Physicians, and its flagship journal CHEST®, visit chestnet.org.
The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organisation comprised of the world's leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally: American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Thoracic Society (ATS), Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), Asociación Latinoamericana de Tórax (ALAT), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS), Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) and the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD).
The goal of FIRS is to unify and enhance efforts to improve lung health through the combined work of its more than 70,000 members globally.