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LUNG CANCER
NEWS

Do Yourself a Solid: Get a Lung Cancer Screening, Urges 1970s-Inspired PSA

Posted on February 09, 2022
Medically reviewed by
Richard LoCicero, M.D.
Article written by
Victoria Menard
(screenyourlungs.org)

  • A new public service announcement (PSA) inspired by the 1970s aims to destigmatize smoking as a risk factor for lung cancer and encourage lung cancer screening.
  • Showing scenes of people engaged in quintessentially 70s activities, the PSA states, “If that was you then, get your lungs screened now.”

Whether you sported feathered hair or an afro in the 1970s, or whether you grooved to disco or pogo-danced to punk, there’s a good chance you smoked or were exposed to smoke back then. No big deal, says a far out new PSA brimming with 1970s good vibes: Just don’t blow off getting a lung cancer screening.

The American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and other nonprofits have partnered with biotechnology company Genentech to release the PSA as part of its larger “Screen Your Lungs” campaign. The video, which flashes back to the 1970s, features scenes of people doing the hustle, roller skating, and serving up gelatin dinners — all with cigarettes in hand.

“We hustled. We bumped. We bus-stopped,” says the voiceover. “And we smoked.”

The video concludes with an older woman undergoing a low-dose computerized tomography (CT) scan while the voiceover states, “Surviving lung cancer starts with a scan.”

The PSA aims to encourage those who previously smoked to get screened for lung cancer. With the tagline “If that was you then, get your lungs screened now,” it also aims to help remove the stigma around the disease that frequently prevents screenings in the first place.

The spot brings viewers “back to a time when smoking was simply part of everyday life,” said Angie Wilson, senior director for patient advocacy relations for Genentech, in an interview with Fierce Pharma. Wilson explained that research has revealed the societal stigma surrounding lung cancer and its primary risk factor, smoking. “This helped guide us to design a campaign, in part, aimed at destigmatizing lung cancer by recognizing smoking as a part of American culture at one point in time," she said.

The PSA comes after the recent expansion of lung cancer screening criteria in the United States. In March 2021, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force updated its criteria to lower the age for screening and reduce the number of “pack years” required to be eligible. A pack year is the number of packs smoked per day multipled by the number of years smoked.

Under the new criteria, individuals between 50 and 80 years old with a 20 pack-year smoking history are eligible for low-dose CT screening if they currently smoke or quit within the past 15 years. The previous criteria from 2013 recommended lung cancer screening for people 55 to 80 years old with a 30 pack-year history who currently smoke or quit within 15 years.

To learn more about the Screen Your Lungs campaign, visit ScreenYourLungs.org. You can also take their screening quiz to determine your eligibility for lung cancer screening.

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.
Richard LoCicero, M.D. has a private practice specializing in hematology and medical oncology at the Longstreet Clinic Cancer Center, in Gainesville, Georgia. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about him here.
Victoria Menard is a writer at MyHealthTeam. Learn more about her here.

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