HONOLULU (KHON2) – Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death across the nation and here in Hawaii.

August 1 is observed as World Lung Cancer Day and the American Lung Association is sharing their key findings.

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In Hawaii, about 890 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2022, and 540 people will die from the disease. 

Lung cancer researchers have worked on educating people about this deadly cancer and because of their education, the lung cancer survival rate has risen substantially.

“One of the most impactful things we can do in Hawai‘i is to raise awareness about lifesaving lung cancer screening. Currently, only 3% of residents at high risk for lung cancer have received a low-dose CT scan lung cancer screening. Lung cancer screening is key to early diagnosis, and early diagnosis saves lives. This is particularly relevant to Native Hawaiians, who have one of the highest rates of lung cancer of anyone in the nation.”

Pedro Haro, Executive Director of the Lung Association in Hawaii.

The American Lung Association said overall awareness about lung cancer is still low, but they are hopeful with more effort and understanding that will change soon.

Progress has been made by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force when they expanded the guidelines for screening to include individuals ages 50 to 80 years who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. 

This almost doubled the number of individuals eligible for screening and has the potential to save significantly more lives than previous guidelines.

“The Hawai’i Legislature has taken bold action to improve prevention and treatment of lung cancer in the state with the passage of Senate Bill 3367 and signed by Governor Ige earlier this year, creating a task force to determine why the state has one of the lowest rates of early diagnosis of lung cancer,” said Haro.