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American Cancer Society report shows major progress against lung cancer

A new report from the American Cancer Society shows major progress against lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 4:05 PM CST
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(CBS News) - A new report from the American Cancer Society shows major progress against lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. It finds lung cancers are being diagnosed earlier and patients are living longer. CEO of the American Cancer Society Dr. Karen Knudsen credits increased access to care, screening, and better treatments. “While we know that not all lung cancers are associated with smoking, a significant fraction are. We are starting to see some progress, however, based on tobacco cessation for the heavy smoking population. It is possible to get into a screening program to detect lung cancer at an earlier stage,” says Knudsen.

The U.S. continues to see a significant reduction in cancer deaths overall. In 2022, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be 1.9 million new cancer diagnoses and 609,360 cancer deaths.

The report also flags some concerning trends, including increased incidence of breast cancer in women and more men being diagnosed with advanced-stage prostate cancer. “Cancer that has become widespread or metastatic, we still have no durable cure for that stage of the disease. So, for prostate cancer is incredibly important for us to detect early and intervene early,” says Knudsen.

Jill Fine came home from a trip in 2018 with wheezing and shoulder pain. Tests revealed stage three lung cancer. “I did smoke, I admit that. But thank God I don’t anymore, but I was seriously, at my age, shocked to hear the word cancer,” she says.

Treatment included surgery to remove two-thirds of her lung and surgery on her airway. “Four rounds of chemo after that and then a year of immunotherapy. It was quite a journey, I have to say, but I am so grateful and so lucky,” says Fine.

Fine has been cancer-free for two years. “I just feel like I have a second chance at life,” she says. Fine encourages others to get checked if something in their body doesn’t seem right.

The cancer estimates in the new report do not reflect the impact that the pandemic could have. There has been a decline in cancer screenings overall across the U.S. The American Cancer Society recommends working with your primary care doctor to develop a cancer screening plan that is right for you.

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