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South Carolina Turns Turquoise to End Lung Cancer



Press Release

Next week, May 9 – May 15, the American Lung Association in South Carolina will celebrate LUNG FORCE Turquoise Takeover.

The LUNG FORCE initiative’s annual Turquoise Takeover unites men and women to raise critical awareness of lung cancer, the nation’s #1 cancer killer. South Carolina residents are encouraged to get involved by wearing turquoise, posting to social media and educating themselves about lung cancer.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder of the importance of lung health, especially for those with lung diseases. For many with lung cancer, the burden has become more acute, with the pandemic adding more challenges, such as increased risk of complications from COVID-19 and changes or delays in treatment,” said MargaretAnn Youngs, development manager for the Lung Association. “The pandemic also temporarily delayed access to lung cancer screening for many people at high risk. Among diverse communities who have been hardest hit by COVID-19, these difficulties may be even worse. For these reasons and many more, raising awareness and funds for lung health are more important than ever.”

While lung cancer remains the #1 cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., the survival rate has increased by a dramatic 13% over the past 5 years and awareness of this deadly disease has steadily increased. This encouraging trend will be further aided by improved early detection of the disease through lung cancer screening. The Lung Association’s “Saved By the Scan” initiative has helped more than 600,000 people find out if they are eligible for early screening.

Here in Charleston, there is a new program that strives to diagnose lung cancer earlier, when it is more treatable. Trident Medical Center’s Lung Nodule Early Detection Program works to identify lung cancer by looking at patients’ CT scans from emergency departments and other inpatient procedures. When a lung nodule is detected, the doctors determine if it is cancer and then quickly begin treatment.

“New technology is allowing us to identify and treat lung cancer earlier than we ever have. This will help increase survival rates. These breakthroughs and fewer people smoking will have the greatest long-term impact on lung cancer,” said Karen Gersch, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon, Palmetto Cardiovascular and Thoracic Associates.

On May 11, the Lung Association is also hosting a free Lung Cancer Patient Virtual Meetup, a program designed for lung cancer patients and caregivers to learn more about the latest trends, resources and research surrounding lung cancer. During the event, South Carolina LUNG FORCE Hero Mike Smith will share his journey with lung cancer, and speak about being physically active, targeted therapy treatment, research and clinical trials, and perseverance for being his own patient advocate. Those interested can register at

Those who want to help raise funds and defeat lung cancer can visit to learn how to get involved.

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