Lung Association Report: Maine Lung Cancer Incidence Rate Among Highest in the Nation

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

The American Lung Association’s 4th annual “State of Lung Cancer” 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. The report showed that Maine’s rate of new lung cancer cases was higher than the national rate and among the highest in the nation, with 71.6 new cases per 100,000.  Maine also ranked behind neighboring states for 5-year survival rate and early diagnosis, as well as smoking rate and potential radon concerns.  

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. 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.

“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 Lance Boucher, assistant vice president for state public policy at the American Lung Association. “Maine has a lot of work to do, particularly in the areas of early diagnosis and 5-year survival. Implementing legislation that reduces the smoking rate and increases awareness and testing for radon are two things we can do right away that would reduce our incidence rate, increase survivorship and save lives in Maine.”

The report found that Maine ranked:

  • 46 in the nation for lung cancer incidence at 71.6 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.
  • 27 in the nation for early diagnosis with 24.2% of cases diagnosed early. Nationally, only 24.5% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the five-year survival rate is much higher.
  • 23 in the nation for survival at 23.3%. The national average of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 23.7%.
  • 8 in the nation for surgery with 23.8% of cases receiving surgical treatment. 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.
  • 6 in the nation for lack of treatment with 17.3% of cases receiving no treatment. Nationally, 21.1% of cases receive no treatment.
  • 4 in the nation for lung cancer screening at 12.1%. 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.


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 Jennifer Solomon 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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