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American Lung Association Finds That Alaska Can do More to Reduce the Toll of Lung Cancer – the #1 Cancer Killer of Women and Men

(February 28, 2018) - Anchorage | Alaska

2018 ‘State of Lung Cancer’ report shows how lung cancer success rates vary state by state, and what Alaska can do to better support lung cancer patients and those at high risk.

Every two and a half minutes someone in the United States will be diagnosed with lung cancer, accounting for about one in four cancer deaths. The American Lung Association’s inaugural LUNG FORCE “State of Lung Cancer” report brings together national and state-specific data to show how the toll of lung cancer varies by state, and how Alaska can do more to protect their residents from lung cancer.

There will be over 460 people in Alaska diagnosed with lung cancer and 290 will succumb to the deadly disease in 2018,” said American Lung Association in Alaska Executive Director Marge Stoneking. “The American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative was created to help defeat lung cancer and give hope to families facing this diagnosis.

In its first year, the LUNG FORCE “State of Lung Cancer” finds that lung cancer diagnoses and survival rates vary state by state. This report shows where Alaska ranks in comparison to the rest of the United States, and where we can improve. Research has shown that screening for lung cancer can catch cases earlier and save lives. If the disease is caught before it spreads, the likelihood of surviving 5 years improves from 11 to 55 percent.

  • Survival Rate: Lung cancer is often not caught at an early stage when it is more likely to be curable. The five-year lung cancer survival rate ranges by state from 24 percent in New York to 15.9 percent in Louisiana, with Alaska at 18.4 percent.
  • Stage at Diagnosis: People diagnosed at early stages of lung cancer are five times more likely to survive, but unfortunately only 18.9 percent of lung cancer cases nationally are diagnosed at an early stage. In Alaska, only 15.8% percent of lung cancer cases were diagnosed at early stages, when it is most likely to be curable.
  • Screening Centers: The availability of accredited lung cancer screening sites has been shown to be positively related to survival of lung cancer, with each additional screening site per million people being associated with a 0.3 point increase in the lung cancer survival rate. Alaska ranks 28 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia, with 4.1 screening centers per million people. Supporting awareness of lung cancer screening availability and criteria for low-dose CT scans, can improve patient outcomes.

The LUNG FORCE “State of Lung Cancer” report is both a guide post and rallying cry, providing policymakers, researchers, healthcare practitioners, as well as patients, caregivers and others committed to ending lung cancer, with a one-stop resource for identifying how their state can best focus to support lung cancer patients, their caregivers, and those at high risk for lung cancer.


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy.  The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases.  For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:


LUNG FORCE is a new national movement led by the American Lung Association to unite women against lung cancer, the #1 cancer killer of women. LUNG FORCE has three priorities: 1) Make lung cancer a cause that people care about—and act on; 2) Educate and empower patients and healthcare providers and 3) Raise critical funds for lung cancer research. The American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE is nationally presented by CVS Health. Find out more at

About LUNG FORCE “State of Lung Cancer”

The inaugural LUNG FORCE “State of Lung Cancer” report includes available state-specific measures of lung cancer incidence, adult smoking prevalence, radon zones, five-year survival, stage at diagnosis, five-year survival by stage at diagnosis, surgery as part of the first course of treatment, and accredited lung cancer screening centers. Data was compiled from a variety of sources including the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries; American College of Radiology; National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program; CDC’s WONDER Online Database; Maryland Cancer Registry (supported by funds from the State of Maryland, the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund, and the CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries); CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System; Environmental Protection Agency’s Map of Radon Zones; and U.S. Census Bureau. See the full report at

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1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872)

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