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'State of Lung Cancer' 2019 Report Finds that Lung Cancer Survival Rates Continue to Improve

Second annual report from American Lung Association explores how states can act to save more lives, support patients and families facing lung cancer

(November 13, 2019) - MISSOULA, Mont.

For more information please contact:

Holly Harvey
[email protected]
(206) 512-3292

An estimated 820 Montana residents will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019 but more Americans than ever are surviving the disease according to a new report from the American Lung Association. 

This year’s “State of Lung Cancer” seeks to continue the positive trend of increased lung cancer survival, as the nationwide five-year lung cancer survival rate of 21.7 percent, up from 17.2 percent a decade ago, reflects a 26 percent improvement over the past 10 years. In Montana, the survival rate is 20 percent. The annual “State of Lung Cancer” report examines the toll of lung cancer throughout the nation, and outlines steps every state can take to better protect its residents from lung cancer.

“While we celebrate that more Americans than ever are surviving lung cancer, the disease remains the leading cause of cancer deaths, and much more can and must be done in Montana to prevent the disease and support families facing the disease,” said Carrie Nyssen, senior director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Montana.

Part of the reason that lung cancer is so deadly is because most lung cancer cases are diagnosed at a later stage, after the disease has spread. Lung cancer screening is the key to early detection, when the disease is most curable, but only 21.5 percent of lung cancer cases nationally are diagnosed at an early stage. While this simple screening test has been available since 2015, only 5.1 percent of those eligible in Montana have been screened. 

“Lung cancer screening is a powerful tool to save lives,” said Nyssen. “Yet we’re only seeing a fraction of those who qualify actually getting screened.”

The "State of Lung Cancer" 2019 report finds that the burden of lung cancer varies by state. By better understanding the impact of lung cancer across the nation, efforts and policies can be focused where the needs are greatest, and this year’s report finds that Montana must do more to protect residents from lung cancer. Below are the key findings for Montana:

Surgical Treatment: Lung cancer can often be treated with surgery if it is diagnosed at an early stage and has not spread widely. Nationally, 20.6 percent of cases underwent surgery. Montana ranks 27th out of 48 with 19.1 percent. 

Survival: Lung cancer has one of the lowest five-year survival rates because cases are often diagnosed at later stages when it is less likely to be curable. Montana ranks 28 out of 45 at 20 percent

Learn more about "State of Lung Cancer" at Lung.org/solc. For media interested in speaking with a lung health expert or lung cancer survivor about their experience, contact Holly Harvey at [email protected] or 206-512-3292.

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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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