Big news out of Washington, DC for those interested in the treatment and prevention of lung cancer

Lung Cancer Treatment

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a release recommending screenings for those who are at high risk for lung cancer with annual low-dose CT scans, which can prevent a substantial number of lung-cancer related deaths. The Task Force is taking comments from the public on these findings until Aug. 26. "The more you smoke over time, the more at risk you are for lung cancer. When deciding who should be screened, clinicians will need to assess the person’s age, overall health, how much the person has smoked, and whether the person is still smoking or how many years it has been since the person quit,” says Task Force co-vice chair Michael LeFevre, MD, MSPH. “This evaluation will help clinicians decide whether it may be beneficial to screen a given person." Faculty at the University of Arizona Cancer Center say that mortality figure (200,000 diagnoses in the US, 4,000 in Arizona) can be significantly reduced. Farid Gharagozloo, MD, FACS, chief of the new Southwest Lung Cancer Program at the University of Arizona and a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of Arizona Medical Center (pictured), says many people who have a nodule on their lung may be misdiagnosed as having valley fever (coccidiodomycosis), because that disease is prevalent in our desert environment. “There are more problems with lung cancer in the Southwest than in any other region in the nation,” Dr. Gharagozloo said. “Lung cancer is as common here as it is anywhere else in America, but more people who live in the Southwest end up dying from it. We’re going to change that.”

Why are lung cancer deaths on the rise for some women?

Lung cancer deaths have plummeted across the United States for the better part of the last two decades, thanks in large part to stronger anti-smoking efforts and an increased awareness of what causes lung cancer. However, a recent study published on June 25 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology says that lung cancer deaths are "steady or rising" among middle-aged women who live in the South or Midwest.