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Kentucky has high rate of lung disease; see KET’s 3-part series ‘Fighting to Breathe’ starting tomorrow

When it comes to lung health, Kentucky has its challenges.

The Commonwealth has one of the highest rates of lung disease in the nation — some 50 percent higher than the national average — owing in part to the state’s high smoking and radon-exposure rates.

The fact is most people are not diagnosed with lung cancer until it is too late. Low dose CT scans can detect lung cancer when it is curable, but only a fraction of eligible people take advantage of this test.

Fighting to Breathe: Lung Disease in Kentucky is a new three-part series from KET, as well as a KET Forum, that examines the under-told story of lung disease in Kentucky: the causes, the impact on those afflicted and the exciting new developments in treatment and prevention.

The Fighting To Breathe series premieres on Monday, Feb. 21, at 9/8 p.m. on KET and continues on Monday, Feb. 28, also at 9/8 p.m.

Hosts Renee Shaw and Dr. Wayne Tuckson speak with researchers, experts, advocates and survivors who reveal eye-opening information that challenges our basic assumptions about lung health. Along the way, viewers will learn about the anatomy of the respiratory system as well as the resilience and vulnerability of the human lung which inhales and exhales over 400 liters of air every hour.

The series includes:
The Threats Around Us

Every minute our lungs are fighting off and expelling unwanted particles, toxins, and biologic agents. The COVID-19 pandemic was a wakeup call to remind us that no one is immune to respiratory invaders. In this episode, we examine the major threats to lung health—especially in low-income communities—and what happens when the lungs’ defenses are overwhelmed.
KET Monday, Feb. 21 • 9/8 pm
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Asthma

COPD and Asthma are two of the most common chronic lung diseases. In this episode, we explore the causes, diagnosis (and misdiagnosis) and best practices for treating these diseases clinically. The program also presents new research from the University of Kentucky and looks at innovative public health measures to address these conditions.

KET Monday, Feb. 21 • 9:30/8:30 p.m.

Lung Cancer

Until very recently, the news about lung cancer was uniformly bleak.  However, with the advancement of low dose CT scans for detecting early lung cancers in smokers and formers smokers, the tide is changing. In this episode we examine how these scans are saving lives and the need for more people to take advantage of them. Also explored are new treatments for lung cancer—targeted therapies and immunotherapies—that are increasing survival rates. And we learn more about the 20 percent of lung cancer patients who never smoked who are desperate for others to understand that we are all at-risk for lung cancer.
KET Monday, Feb. 28 • 9/8 p.m.
Fighting to Breathe: A KET Forum

This one-hour forum explores the next steps in the fight to reduce the burden of lung disease in the Commonwealth and enhance the respiratory health of all Kentuckians.

KET Monday, Feb. 28 • 9:30/8:30 pm
Fighting to Breathe is funded, in part, by grants from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Kentucky Medical Association (through a grant from the Anthem Foundation).
KET is Kentucky’s largest classroom, where learning comes to life for more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile.

Learn more about Kentucky’s preeminent public media organization at KET.org, on Twitter @KET and at facebook.com/KET.

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