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Ad of the Day: American Lung Association and the Ad Council raise awareness about lung cancer screening

The American Lung Association and the Ad Council are hoping that more people are ‘Saved By The Scan’ in a new campaign that debuts today (August 1) on World Lung Cancer Day.

To raise public awareness of lung cancer, which is the leading cancer killer of men and women, the American Lung Association’s Lung Force initiative – a national movement to defeat lung cancer – has partnered with the Ad Council to launch the first national public service campaign to educate Americans about a groundbreaking lung cancer screening for those at high risk.

In the 30-second spot, a woman, Eva Marie, is seen scaling a mountain. As the shot closes in, the mountain appears to be made of smoldering cigarettes. A voice over says that the woman smoked 12,000 packs of cigarettes, but she quit and now is getting screened for lung cancer, which could save her life. It’s tagged with “you stopped smoking, now start screening.”

Academy-Award nominee Rodrigo Prieto, the cinematographer behind Silence, Babel, Argo and Brokeback Mountain, collaborated with the Ad Council and the Lung Force initiative for the spot to educate Americans about a groundbreaking lung cancer screening for those at high risk. The PSAs are symbolic of the effort it took to quit smoking. After conquering the addiction, proactively taking the extra step to get screened for lung cancer is key.

This campaign targets the estimated nine million people in the US who are at high risk for lung cancer and should talk to their doctor about getting screened. Individuals at high risk include anyone aged 55-80 who is a current smoker or, anyone aged 55-80 who quit smoking in the last 15 years and smoked the equivalent of 30 “pack years” while they were smoking (one pack a day for 30 years, two packs for 15 years, or any combination of years and packs that equals 30).

This potentially lifesaving low-dose CT scan (LDCT) can detect lung cancer in the early stages, before symptoms arise, when more treatment options are available and the chances of survival are higher. The campaign was developed pro-bono by creative agency, Hill Holliday.

“Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer deaths, and lung cancer screening for individuals at high risk is truly the breakthrough we need to save more lives and turn the tide against lung cancer,” said American Lung Association National President and cheif executive Harold P. Wimmer. “Lung cancer screening is a powerful opportunity to save lives by diagnosing the disease in early stages when more treatment options are available. Screening can potentially save thousands of lives, and through this campaign we hope to empower and motivate former and current smokers to learn more about their screening options.”

The accompanying site, SavedByTheScan.org, provides information about lung cancer screening (insurance coverage, how to find a screening center, etc) and includes a section for people to share their personal stories about how they were “saved by the scan.”

“This campaign is vital to addressing one of the most overlooked and deadly health crises of our time,” said Ad Council chief executive officer and president Lisa Sherman. “We know that this new compelling campaign will empower people at risk, or who have loved ones at risk, to get screened and ultimately save lives.”

The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 18.1%, among the lowest for all types of cancers. Early detection can save lives – survival rates are five times higher when lung cancer is detected early, but most cases are not diagnosed until later stages. If only half of the high-risk population were screened, more than 15,000 lives could be saved.

“How often do we get the chance to make advertising that saves lives? With this campaign, brought to life by the unique perspective of Rodrigo Prieto, we get to do just that,” said Lance Jensen, chief creative officer at Hill Holliday. “It’s an honor and a privilege for Hill Holliday to create ‘Saved By The Scan’ for the Ad Council on behalf of the American Lung Association. We hope this work helps raise awareness of this amazing screening technology and prevents lung cancer from taking more lives.”

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