New Report: Lifesaving Lung Cancer Screening Rates Too Low in Illinois

American Lung Association examines toll of lung cancer in Illinois, underscores urgent need for more people to be screened

The 2022 “State of Lung Cancer” report shows that only 7.0% of Illinois residents who are eligible have been screened for lung cancer. The American Lung Association’s 5th annual report, released today, highlights the toll of lung cancer in Illinois and examines key indicators, including new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment and screening rates.

Nationally, the “State of Lung Cancer” report shows continued progress for lung cancer survival. The lung cancer five-year survival rate is now 25% and increased 21% from 2014 to 2018. Here in Illinois, the lung cancer survival rate is close to the national average at 25.7%. The report also highlights that people of color who are diagnosed with lung cancer face worse outcomes compared to white Americans, including lower survival rate, less likely to be diagnosed early, less likely to receive surgical treatment and more likely to receive no treatment. In Illinois, Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders are least likely to be diagnosed early.

“Lung cancer screening is key to early diagnosis, and early diagnosis saves lives. Unfortunately, here in Illinois, not enough people are getting this lifesaving screening. That’s why we applaud Governor Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly for adding $1 million to the most recent state budget for lung cancer screenings,” said Kristina Hamilton, Advocacy Director at the American Lung Association. “We all can help reduce the burden of lung cancer in Illinois. If you think you are eligible for lung cancer screening, we encourage you to speak with your doctor about it. If you think a loved one is eligible, please encourage them to get screened.” In addition, rates of new lung cancer cases in parts of central and southern Illinois are significantly higher than the rates in most of the Chicagoland area. 

Currently, 14.2 million Americans meet the US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines for screening. Under these guidelines, a person is eligible for lung cancer screening if they are between 50-80 years of age, have a 20 pack-year history (1 pack/day for 20 years, 2 packs/day for 10 years) and are a current smoker, or have quit within the last 15 years. Find out if you are eligible for lung cancer screening at SavedByTheScan.org.

The report found that Illinois ranked:

  • 32nd in the nation for rate of new lung cancer cases at 61.7 per 100,000. The national rate is 56.7 per 100,000.
  • 18th in the nation for survival at 25.7%. The national rate of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 25%.
  • 17th in the nation for early diagnosis at 26.7%. Nationally, only 25.8% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher.
  • 21st in the nation for lung cancer screening at 7.0%. 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 5.8% of those at high risk were screened.
  • 18th in the nation for surgery at 20.9%. 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.
  • 12th in the nation for lack of treatment at 17.4%. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment.

“State of Lung Cancer” highlights that Illinois must do more to reduce the burden of lung cancer and encourages everyone to join the effort to end lung cancer. Learn more about the report, and email President Biden to thank him for his leadership on the Cancer Moonshot Initiative and urge him to work to increase lung cancer screening for individuals at high risk at Lung.org/solc.

For more information, contact:

James A. Martinez
(312) 445-2501
[email protected]

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