American Lung Association Report: Lung Cancer Screening Rates Too Low in California

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

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report reveals that California ranks 51st in the nation for screening rates. This means that California is among the worst in the nation for screening high risk individuals for lung disease, so 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 California and examines key indicators including new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment and screening rates. 

The report also found that California ranked 3rd in the nation for rate of new lung cancer cases and 15th for survival. In California, Indigenous Peoples are least likely to receive surgical treatment. 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 Allison Hickey, Executive Vice President of the American Lung Association. “However, lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths here in California and across the nation, and our recent report makes it clear that we have more work to do to focus on increasing lung cancer screening and treatment.”  

The report found that California ranked: 

  • 3 out of 48 in the nation for rate of new lung cancer cases at 37.8 per 100,000. The national rate is 54.6 per 100,000. 

  • 15 out of 42 in the nation for survival at 27.5%. The national rate of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 26.6%. 

  • 35 out of 47 in the nation for early diagnosis at 25.3%. Nationally, only 26.6% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher. 

  • 51 out of 51 in the nation for lung cancer screening at 0.7%. 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. 

  • 13 out of 47 in the nation for surgery at 22.0%. 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. 

  • 43 out of 47 in the nation for lack of treatment at 25.6%. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment. 

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report highlights that California 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

For more information, contact:

Katie Geraghty
310-359-6386
[email protected]

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