Lung Association Report: Connecticut Ranks As Top State for 5-Year Survival of Lung Cancer But Leaves Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Behind on Early Diagnosis

“State of Lung Cancer” report examines toll of lung cancer in Connecticut, identifies opportunities to save lives

The 2021 “State of Lung Cancer” report showed mixed results in Connecticut, with the state landing top 5 rankings for 5-year survival, early diagnosis and surgical treatment rate, but with a clear racial disparity for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who are least likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer at an early stage, when it is most treatable.   

The American Lung Association’s 4th annual report, released today, highlights how the toll of lung cancer varies by state and examines key indicators throughout the U.S. including: new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment and screening rates. This is the second year that the “State of Lung Cancer” report explores the lung cancer burden among racial and ethnic minority groups at the national and state levels.

The report reveals that the lung cancer five-year survival rate increased 14.5% nationally to 23.7% yet remains significantly lower among communities of color. In fact, while the national lung cancer survival rate increased, it remains at only 20% for communities of color and 18% for Black Americans. Here in Connecticut, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in state are 32% less likely than White Americans to be diagnosed with lung cancer early.

“While we celebrate that more Americans are surviving lung cancer, too many people are being left behind, and the disease remains the leading cause of cancer deaths,” said Ruth Canovi, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Connecticut. “Much more can and must be done in Connecticut to prevent the disease and support those facing the disease, such as ensuring everyone who is at high risk is screened for lung cancer, funding tobacco prevention and cessation programs, and promoting testing of homes for radon.”

The report found that Connecticut ranked:

  • 1st in the nation for survival at 28.8%. The national average of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 23.7%.
  • 2nd in the nation for early diagnosis at 29.1%. Nationally, only 24.5% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the five-year survival rate is much higher.
  • 4th in the nation for surgery at 25.8%. Lung cancer can often be treated with surgery if it is diagnosed at an early stage and has not spread. Nationally, 20.7% of cases underwent surgery.
  • 12th in the nation for lack of treatment with 17.9% of cases receiving no treatment. Nationally, 21.1% of cases receive no treatment.
  • 17th in the nation for lung cancer screening at 7.6%. 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 5.7% of those at high risk were screened.
  • 24th in the nation for lung cancer incidence at 58.2 per 100,000. Incidence refers to the number of new cases of lung cancer in each state. The national lung cancer incidence is 57.7 per 100,000.
  • Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in state are 32% less likely than White Americans to be diagnosed with lung cancer early.

While the “State of Lung Cancer” report findings show significant work to be done, there is hope. In March of 2021, the United States Preventive Services Task Force expanded its recommendation for screening to include a larger age range and more current or former smokers. This dramatically increased the number of women and Black Americans who are eligible for lung cancer screening.

The Lung Association encourages everyone to join the effort to end lung cancer. Go to Lung.org/solc to learn more about lung cancer in your state and sign our petition to increase funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect our nation’s health from disease, including lung cancer.

For current and former smokers, there are lifesaving resources available. Find out if you are eligible for lung cancer screening at SavedByTheScan.org, and then talk to your doctor about getting screened. 

Learn more about "State of Lung Cancer" at Lung.org/solc. For media interested in speaking with a lung cancer expert about advances in lung cancer and the "State of Lung Cancer" 2021 report or lung cancer survivor about their experience, contact [email protected] at the American Lung Association at [email protected] or  516-680-8927

For more information, contact:

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

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