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New Hampshire has 3rd Highest Five-Year Survival Rate for Lung Cancer Patients, According to New Report by American Lung Association

First ever 2018 ‘State of Lung Cancer’ report shows how lung cancer rates vary across the country, and what New Hampshire can do to better support lung cancer patients and those at high risk

(February 28, 2018) - PORTSMOUTH, N.H.

For more information please contact:

Jennifer Solomon
[email protected]
(516) 680-8927

Every two and a half minutes someone in the United States will be diagnosed with lung cancer. The American Lung Association’s inaugural LUNG FORCE “State of Lung Cancer” report is the first time that these national and state lung cancer statistics have been analyzed in one report to show how the toll of lung cancer varies across the country, and how New Hampshire can do more to protect their residents from lung cancer.

“There will be over 1,200 people in New Hampshire diagnosed with lung cancer and more than 700 will succumb to the deadly disease in 2018. More must be done to save lives,” Jeff Seyler, Executive Vice President of the American Lung Association, Northeast Region. “The American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative was created to help defeat lung cancer - the leading cause of cancer deaths - and this new report outlines what we need to do to succeed - tackling both the disease and its risk factors as well as supporting access to preventative health services and treatment options.”

The LUNG FORCE “State of Lung Cancer” 2018 report finds that lung cancer diagnosis and survival rates vary state by state. It also highlights that some states are yet to report on all of the key lung cancer indicators. By better understanding the impact of lung cancer at the state level, we can enact policies and focus attention where the need is greatest. This report covers the following measures of lung cancer burden, and shows where New Hampshire ranks in comparison to the rest of the United States:

  • Incidence: More than 234,000 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year, and the rate of new cases vary by state. New Hampshire ranks 34 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia with a lung cancer incidence of 68.1 per 100,000 people. There are a variety of risk factors associated with lung cancer, including smoking, exposure to radon gas, air pollution and secondhand smoke. Radon testing and mitigation, healthy air protections, and reducing the smoking rate through tobacco tax increases, smokefree air laws and access to comprehensive quit smoking services are all effective ways to prevent new lung cancer cases.
  • 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 from 24 percent in New York to 15.9 percent in Louisiana. When compared to other states, New Hampshire had the third highest five-year survival rate, at 23.1 percent. Only 31 states track this important metric, which should be implemented by all states to enhance monitoring of lung cancer, and help identify how to improve lung cancer survival.  
  • 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 New Hampshire, 19.8 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 percentage point increase in the lung cancer survival rate. New Hampshire ranks 5 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia, with 9  screening centers per million people. Raising awareness of these screening facilities, as well as criteria for low-dose CT scans, can improve patient outcomes.
  • Surgical Treatment: Lung cancer is more likely to be curable if the tumor can be surgically removed, and surgery is more likely to be an option if the diagnosis is made at an early stage before the cancer has spread. In New Hampshire, 25.4 percent of cases underwent surgery as part of the first course of treatment, ranking 6 out of 48 states and the District of Columbia. Quality healthcare and new treatment options for lung cancer are needed to increase survival rates.

“New Hampshire has a ways to go on policies that reduce risks for lung cancer like tobacco use, exposure to radon, secondhand smoke and air pollution – so the high incidence rate is unfortunate, but not surprising,” said Lance Boucher, Director of Public Policy for the American Lung Association in New Hampshire “The good news is that we have an accessible and knowledgeable community of medical professionals and residents can get screened and surgical treatment when they need it.  There is no question that New Hampshire can do better, but our legislature now has an opportunity to implement proven policies that can reduce the deadly toll of lung cancer.”

On Wednesday, March 14, lung cancer advocate Nancy Wells from North Hampton, New Hampshire, will be heading to Capitol Hill to share the story of her late husband, battle with lung cancer and these startling statistics with her members of Congress. LUNG FORCE Heroes from all 50 states will be asking Congress to support increased funding for the National Institutes of Health for better treatment and early detection of lung cancer, as well as sharing why quality and affordable healthcare is especially important for lung cancer patients.

My husband was diagnosed with lung cancer, stage 4B at an emergency visit for another health issue.  He lost his battle within eight months.” Said Wells.   We need more voices and dollars to find early detection methods and improved treatments to fight this cancer.  I am committed to advocating for our victims, survivors, and families affected by lung cancer.

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 and their families – like Nancy Wells.

For media interested in speaking with an expert about the LUNG FORCE “State of Lung Cancer” report, or Nancy Wells on her upcoming trip to Washington, D.C., contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 516-680-8927.

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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 coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

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