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Lung cancer screening advocate says not enough people discuss risk with doctors

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Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Hawaiʻi and the U.S, according to a new national survey from the American Lung Association.

The organization estimates that out of the nearly 900 people in Hawaiʻi diagnosed with the disease, 540 people will die from it. That's likely because it’s not being diagnosed early enough.

Pedro Haro, the executive director of the American Lung Association in Hawaiʻi, says the national survey also shows there is a lack of awareness among respondents.

"73% of adults have not spoken with their doctor about the risk of lung cancer. And only 40% are even concerned that they might get the disease," Haro said. "So even though lung cancer is a major source of death and disease in the United States, and particularly in Hawaiʻi it’s the number one cancer killer, not enough people are talking to their doctors about it."

"Local people, particularly if you’re a current smoker or have smoked in the last 15 years, you should really have a conversation with your doctor to see if you might be at high risk for lung cancer," Haro told HPR.

Haro says residents can take an online survey to determine if they are at high risk for lung cancer.

The survey can be found at savedbythescan.org.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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