New Report Reveals Hawai‘i Lags Behind in Early Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

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

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report reveals that Hawai‘i ranks 47th in the nation for early diagnosis of lung cancer. This means that Hawai‘i is the worst in the nation for diagnosis lung cancer in early stages, 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 Hawai‘i and examines key indicators including new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment and screening rates.

The report also found that Hawai‘i has a low smoking rate, raking 4th for percent of adults who are current smokers. 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.

“While the rates of early diagnosis continues to lag, we are seeing improvements in rates of 5-year survival across the nation, including here in Hawai‘i,” said Pedro Haro, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Hawai‘i. “While lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths here in Hawai‘i and across the nation, we are encouraged by signs of improvement in the survival rates.” 

The report found that Hawaii ranked:

  • 6 out of 48 in the nation for rate of new lung cancer cases at 41.9 per 100,000. The national rate is 54.6 per 100,000.
  • 35 out of 42 in the nation for survival at 22.8%. The national rate of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 26.6%.
  • 47 out of 47 in the nation for early diagnosis at 20.3%. Nationally, only 26.6% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher.
  • 40 out of 51 in the nation for lung cancer screening at 2.6%. 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 4.5% of those at high risk were screened.
  • 35 out of 47 in the nation for surgery at 17.7%. 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.
  • 41 out of 47 in the nation for lack of treatment at 24.3%. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment.

On November 15th, the American Lung Association with host the Community Connections Webinar where participants will hear about the newest findings for the American Lung Association's State of Lung Cancer Report as well as advances in lung cancer screening and treatment from Dr. Taryne Imai and J.B. Smith. 

In 2022, the American Lung Association was instrumental in the passage of Act 162, which established the Early Lung Cancer Screening Task Force. The act appropriated a quarter million dollars to the Hawai‘i State Department of Health to determine why the state is last in the nation for early diagnosis of lung cancer and create a strategic plan to address it.

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