African Americans Can Push Back Against Lung Cancer

08/03/2017 09:29 am ET Updated Aug 03, 2017

Tuesday was #WorldLungCancerDay, which commemorates, celebrates and supports those impacted by lung cancer.

Lung cancer kills more people each year than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. It is the No. 1 cancer killer in African Americans.

We can change that. And we have a new weapon.

Let me first say — if you smoke, please stop. This is the top cause of lung cancer.

Now, I want to tell you about the new American Lung Association “Saved By the Scan” campaign.

The American Lung Association urges older current and former smokers to get yearly CT (or “CAT”) scans to check for signs of lung cancer. So do I.

Getting these scans has been proven to greatly reduce lung cancer deaths. It is the first and only test to do so. Use this guide to see if screening may help you.

Talk to your doctor about it. If your doctor doesn’t know about or mention lung cancer screening, or if you just want to prepare for that talk, print this out and take it with you. You can also direct your doctor to this.

Insurance companies cover these exams for those ages 55–80 with a history of heavy smoking. Medicare ends this coverage at 77. If screening is right for you, you’re covered.

African Americans are more likely than other U.S. ethnic or racial groups to die from most cancers (including lung cancer). We also die more quickly once diagnosed. It doesn’t have to be this way.

We can now push back against the nation’s leading cancer killer. But we have to know how and we have to take action. No better time than the present.

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