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Valley oncologist pushes for more awareness for lung cancer screenings

PHOENIX — Lung cancer has long been the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States — and now, it has claimed the No. 1 spot among one demographic around the world.

The American Cancer Society reports lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer as the top cause of cancer deaths among women in developed countries.

Dr. Panos Fidias, a thoracic oncologist at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, said the public push for lung-cancer screenings isn’t as strong as the push for breast-cancer screenings.

“Lung cancer tends to affect older people. It tends to affect people that may have other medical problems,” he said, “so, you don’t see the same fervor and advocacy that you see in breast cancer.”

Fidias said people tend to believe smokers brought the ailment upon themselves by not quitting their habit, but Fidias said the time has come to stress that early screening for lung cancer can save lives.

“Lung cancer screening has been linked to a 20 percent reduction in lung cancer mortality,” he said.

Fidias said screenings are available at St. Joseph’s, and they are covered by Medicare. He said anyone between 50 and 77 who has a history of smoking should be screened.

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