Lung Cancer Pushes Kentucky’s Cancer Rate to the Highest in the Nation

According to a recent article in USA Today, about 10,000 Kentuckians a year die from cancer, the highest rate in the nation.  Experts say the biggest culprit is lung cancer, which strikes and kills Kentuckians at rates 50% higher than the national average, but Kentucky’s death rates also rank in the Top 10 nationally for breast, colorectal, and cervical cancers. 

Kentucky’s lung cancer numbers from the National Cancer Institute are staggering.  Incidence per 100,000 people: 92.4, compared with 60.4 nationally and mortality per 100,000: 68.8, compared with 45 nationally. 

Thomas Tucker, director of the Kentucky Cancer Registry, said lung cancer is by far the biggest reason for the state’s continual struggle with cancer mortality.  “The problem with lung cancer,” he said, “is we’ve always found it late.” 

One reason that the disease is found late is that most lung cancers don’t cause symptoms, so people don’t know they’re sick until the disease has spread so far they can’t be cured.  Until recently, there’s been no screening test, and today’s preventive low-dose CT scans for longtime smokers are far less routine than tests like mammograms or colonoscopies and are not always covered by private insurance.  

University of Louisville Hospital and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center offer a broad array of treatments and diagnostic capabilities for disorders of the lung.  With a team that features Kentucky’s only fellowship-trained interventional pulmonologist, University Hospital offers services that are the least invasive for the patient. 

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center CT scanner for lung cancer screening requires a fraction of the radiation dose that other systems require and provides imaging of the tiniest details in a complete scan of the entire chest region in just 0.6 seconds.  Our Low-Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening meets the Lung Cancer Alliance National Framework for Excellence in Lung Cancer Screening and Continuum of Care.  In fact, the James Graham Brown Cancer Center was the first in Kentucky to receive this recognition from the Lung Cancer Alliance. 

Louisville CyberKnife, located at James Graham Brown Cancer Center, treats lung cancer patients with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) using the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.  CyberKnife is a painless, nonsurgical outpatient cancer treatment with minimal side effects.  During the CyberKnife treatment, hundreds of highly concentrated and incredibly precise beams of radiation are targeted directly to tumors in the lung.  As the patient breathes during the CyberKnife treatment, the CyberKnife robotic arm moves with the rise and fall of his/her chest while breathing – meaning that healthy tissue is protected from radiation and only the tumor is treated. 

To find out how to schedule your lung screening today, please click here, or call 855-34-KYONE (59663).  To learn more about how Louisville CyberKnife treats lung cancer, please click here