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KentuckyOne Health
Lung Cancer is Kentucky’s Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths

 

Louisville, Ky. (Nov. 12, 2013) — Lung cancer kills more Kentuckians every year than the next eight most common cancers combined. KentuckyOne Health is working to reduce lung cancer incidence and death in the state through advanced screening technologies and smoking cessation programs.

 

Lung cancer forms in the tissues of the lung, usually in the cells lining the air passages. There are two main types of lung cancer – small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Small cell cancer progresses quickly and is likely to spread beyond the lungs. Non-small cell cancer is more common, grows more slowly and is less likely to spread.

 

More Americans die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. In 2009 (the most recent data available) it accounted for 14 percent of cancer diagnosis and 28 percent of all cancer deaths. More than half of the people with lung cancer will die within just one year of diagnosis.

 

“By the time it shows any symptoms, lung cancer has often already spread throughout the lungs, or in some cases, to other places in the body,” said Vijay Raghavan, M.D., with Cancer & Blood Specialists and Jewish Cancer Care. “With innovations in screening, we’re able to detect lung cancer early, before symptoms appear, which ultimately helps save lives.”

 

Kentucky leads the nation in both lung cancer incidence and lung cancer death, with an incidence rate of 80 per 100,000. Kentucky’s death rate of 75 (per 100,000) is well above the national average of 55.

 

Much of this can be attributed to smoking, the main cause of all lung cancer, which contributes to roughly 85 percent of all lung cancer deaths. Men who smoke are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer than a non-smoker. Women who smoke are 13 times more likely to develop this devastating cancer. Roughly 29 percent of Kentuckians are smokers, compared to 21 percent nationally.

 

KentuckyOne Health facilities now offer low-dose CT scans, the latest tool in the early detection of lung cancer. While a chest x-ray served as the previous method, this new technology employs a low-dose of radiation to make a series of very detailed pictures of the lungs, scanning the body in a spiral path. This gives doctors an incredible amount of detail and allows them to see even the smallest cancer growth.

 

Data shows that using low-dose CT is four times more likely to pick up a mass than a traditional chest x-ray, allowing for earlier detection and a better chance at survival.

 

“The low-dose CT scan is a significant advancement in our ability to find lung cancer in its early stages.” said Goetz H. Kloecker, M.D., director of the Thoracic Oncology Clinic at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, part of KentuckyOne Health, and University of Louisville associate professor of internal medicine.  “Early detection gives you more options for treatment, including taking advantage of clinical trials, but the best prevention for lung cancer is to stop smoking or never start.”

Dr. Kloecker is part of the multidisciplinary team of lung cancer specialists working to treat lung cancer patients. The team includes a medical oncologist, surgical oncologist, pathologist, and radiation oncologist, with additional support from other specialists, all working together to develop a treatment plan tailored to each individual. The group meets regularly to discuss patient cases and progress.

Lung cancer can be difficult to spot because symptoms are non-specific. Some symptoms can include:

  • Coughing that gets worse and doesn’t go away
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Feeling very tired all the time
  • Weight loss with no known cause

 

If these symptoms persist in someone with a history of smoking, you should consult with your physician immediately. For those who have smoked more than 30 pack years (the number of years that someone has smoked one pack a day) and are between the ages of 55 and 79, screening is recommended. 

 

There are other exposures that can lead to lung cancer, although less common. Radon, a gas that naturally occurs in some parts of the country, has been identified as the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Other exposures, like asbestos, can also lead to lung cancer. 

 

To learn more about lung cancer screenings and smoking cessation opportunities available in your area and around the state, call KentuckyOne Cancer Care at 855-34KYONE (59663).

 

About KentuckyOne Health
KentuckyOne Health was formed when two major Kentucky health care organizations came together in early 2012. KentuckyOne Health combines the Jewish and Catholic heritages of the two former systems – Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System. In late 2012, the organization formed a partnership with the University of Louisville Hospital | James Graham Brown Cancer Center.  The nonprofit system is committed to improving the health of Kentuckians by integrating medical research, education, technology and health care services wherever patients receive care. KentuckyOne Health has more than 200 locations including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies, with nearly 15,000 employees across the state of Kentucky and southern Indiana. KentuckyOne Health is the largest health system in Kentucky.

 

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 Lung Cancer Fact Sheet

Lung cancer forms in the tissues of the lung, usually in the cells lining the air passages. There are two main types of lung cancer – small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Small cell cancer progresses quickly and is likely to spread beyond the lungs. Non-small cell cancer is more common, grows more slowly and is less likely to spread.

 

More Americans die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. In Kentucky, it kills more every year than the next eight most common cancers combined.

 

In 2009, (the most recent data available) lung cancer accounted for 14 percent of cancer diagnosis and 28 percent of all cancer deaths nationwide.

 

Smoking is the main cause of all lung cancer, contributing to between 85 and 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths.

 

  • Roughly 29 percent of Kentuckians are smokers, compared to 21 percent nationally.
  • Men who smoke are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer than a non-smoker.
  • Women who smoke are 13 times more likely to develop this devastating cancer.

 

More than half of people with lung cancer will die within just one year of diagnosis.

 

Lung cancer can be difficult to spot because symptoms are non-specific. Some symptoms can include:

 

  • Coughing that gets worse and doesn’t go away
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Feeling very tired all the time
  • Weight loss with no known cause

 

Less commonly, radon, a gas that naturally occurs in some parts of the country, and asbestos, can also lead to lung cancer. 

 

 

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