Maine CDC Press Release

November 16, 2017

Maine CDC Encourages Screening During Lung Cancer Awareness Month

AUGUSTA - As the nation recognizes November as National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages current and former smokers who are at high risk of developing lung cancer to talk with a health care provider about being screened for the disease. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in Maine, and in 2013, nearly 30 percent of all cancer deaths in Maine were due to lung cancer.

"Statistics show that new cases of lung cancer are consistently higher in Maine than the U.S., and approximately 75 percent of new lung cancers in Maine are diagnosed at a late stage," said Maine CDC Director, Dr. Bruce Bates. "I urge people who smoke or who have smoked in the past to speak with their doctor about screening. This deadly disease can often be easier to treat if it is diagnosed early."

Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer, being linked to 80 to 90 percent of all lung cancers in the United States. The U. S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends adults age 55 to 80 be screened for lung cancer if they have a history of heavy smoking, currently smoke or have quit smoking within the past 15 years. A history of heavy smoking is defined as smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years or more.

It is important to talk with a health care provider about your medical history and the risks for all cancers. Quitting smoking at any age can reduce the risk of lung cancer. For those who continue to smoke, remember that quitting is beneficial at any time. The Maine Tobacco HelpLine (800-207-1230) is available to help you quit using tobacco. For more information and resources on lung cancer visit: www.cdc.gov/cancer/lung/.