Report Reveals New Jersey Among Best in Nation for Lung Cancer Surgery and Survival, Lags Behind for Cancer Screening; Black Individuals Least to Be Diagnosed Early, Have Surgery or Receive Treatment

American Lung Association examines toll of lung cancer in New Jersey, underscores urgent need for more high-risk people to be screened to increase survivorship

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report reveals that New Jersey is 4th in the nation for lung cancer surgery. This means that New Jersey is among the best in the nation for surgery as part of their first course of treatment, though more work is needed to reduce the burden of lung cancer. The American Lung Association’s 6th annual report, released today, highlights the toll of lung cancer in New Jersey and examines key indicators including new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment and screening rates.

The report also found that New Jersey ranked below average for lung cancer screening (38 out of 51) and is among the top tier for lung cancer survival at 8 out of 42 states measured. Black individuals in the state are 31% more likely to not receive lung cancer treatment, 30% less likely to receive surgery as the first course of treatment and both Black Americans and Pacific Islanders are 26% less likely to be diagnosed early than white individuals at 21.6% and 21.7% respectively. Nationally, the “State of Lung Cancer” report found that lung cancer survival rates are improving for everyone, including people of color. In fact, the five-year lung cancer survival rate for people of color has increased by 17% in the last two years, helping close the health disparity gap.

“Thankfully, here in New Jersey, the lung cancer survival rate has improved because of increased awareness, improved access to healthcare and cutting-edge research into new treatments for the disease,” said Michael Seilback, National AVP, State Public Policy at the American Lung Association. “However, lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths here in New Jersey and across the nation, and our recent report makes it clear that we have more work to do to increase lung cancer screening and make sure that no one is left behind in efforts to improve lung cancer survival.”

The report found that New Jersey ranked:

  • 14 out of 48 in the nation for rate of new lung cancer cases at 51.8 per 100,000 people, which marks a 19% improvement over past five years. The national rate is 54.6 per 100,000.
  • 8 out of 42 in the nation for survival at 29.9%, which marks a 20% improvement over past five years. The national rate of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 26.6%.
  • 18 out of 47 in the nation for early diagnosis at 27.7%. Nationally, only 26.6% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher.
  • 38 out of 51 in the nation for lung cancer screening at 2.7%, which is in the below average tier in the nation. Lung cancer screening with annual low-dose CT scans for those at high risk can reduce the lung cancer death rate by up to 20%. Nationally, only 4.5% of those at high risk were screened.
  • 4 out of 47 in the nation for surgery at 26.0%, which marks a 9% decrease over the past five years. Lung cancer can often be treated with surgery if it is diagnosed at an early stage and has not spread. Nationally, 20.8% of cases underwent surgery.
  • 29 out of 47 in the nation for lack of treatment at 20.7%. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment.
  • 7 out of 51 for percentage of adults who are current smokers at 10.7%, ranking among the top tier in the nation. Nationally 13.5% of adults are current smokers.
  • Ranks 8 out of 51 in the nation for radon test results lower than EPA recommended action level, placing it in the top tier compared to other states, with a relatively low percentage of results worse than the EPA guideline. 

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report highlights that New Jersey must do more to reduce the burden of lung cancer and encourages everyone to help end lung cancer. Join the Lung Association’s efforts by asking your member of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 4286, the Increasing Access to Lung Cancer Screening Act at Lung.org/SOLC.

Get involved and help the mission of the American Lung Association. The Fight For Air Climb New Jersey in Newark at the Red Bull Arena is coming up on April 13, 2024. Learn more at FightForAirClimb.org/newjersey.   

For more information, contact:

Valerie Gleason
717-971-1123
[email protected]

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