New Report Reveals Virginia Among Leaders in the Country in Lung Cancer Screening and Treatment; Black Individuals Least Likely to Receive TreatmentAmerican Lung Association examines toll of lung cancer in Virginia, underscores urgent need for more high-risk people to be screened to increase survivorship
RICHMOND, VA | November 14, 2023
The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report reveals that Virginia ranks 10th in the nation for lung cancer screening This means that Virginia is among the best (10 out of 51) in the nation for lung cancer screening however, 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 Virginia and examines key indicators including new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment and screening rates.
Virginia also ranked among the top tier for lung cancer treatment (8 out of 47 of states measured) at 16.9% receiving no treatment compared to the national rate of 20.6%, this marks a 28% improvement for the state over the past five years.
The report found that Black individuals in the state are 21% less likely than white individuals to receive surgery as the first course of treatment and 17% less likely to be diagnosed early. Lung cancer can often be treated with surgery if it is diagnosed at an early stage and has not spread. 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, nationally, 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 Aleks Casper, Director of Advocacy, Virginia at the American Lung Association. “However, lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths here in Virginia and across the nation, and our recent report makes it clear that we have more work to do to defeat lung cancer including screening and making sure that no one is left behind in efforts to improve lung cancer survival.”
The report found that Virginia ranked:
- 16 out of 48 in the nation for rate of new lung cancer cases at 52.4 per 100,000, this marks an 18% improvement over the past five years. The national rate is 54.6 per 100,000.
- Virginia does not have statistics for five-year survival. The national rate of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 26.6%.
- 31 out of 47 in the nation for early diagnosis at 25.9%, this marks an 11% improvement over the past five years. Nationally, only 26.6% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher.
- 10 out of 51 in the nation for lung cancer screening at 7.2%, which is among the top tier for lung cancer screening. 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.
- 22 out of 47 in the nation for surgery at 20.3%. 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.
- 8 out of 47 in the nation for lack of treatment at 16.9%, which marks a 28% improvement over the past five years. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment.
- 16 out of 51 for adults who are current smokers at 12.4%. Nationally, 13.5% of adults are current smokers.
- 28 out of 51 in the nation for radon test results at 25.2% compared to the EPA recommended action level, with an average percentage of results equal to or worse than the EPA guideline.
The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report highlights that Virginia 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.
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