"State of Lung Cancer” Report Reveals that Black Americans in New York State are 22% Less Likely to be Diagnosed Early than White Americans

Lung Association report examines toll of lung cancer in New York, 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, as well as the disproportionate impact of lung cancer on communities of color.  The report found that New York State, ranked in the top-5 states for 5-year survival, early diagnosis and surgical treatment, but that Black Americans are the least likely to be diagnosed early, when lung cancer is most treatable. 

The 2021 “State of Lung Cancer” report found that, nationally, people of color who are diagnosed with lung cancer face worse outcomes compared to whites.  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 also 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. 

“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 Trevor Summerfield, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in New York. “Much more can and must be done in New York to prevent the disease and support those facing it, like making sure everyone has access to quality and affordable healthcare and ensuring everyone who is at high risk is screened for lung cancer.”

The report found that New York State ranked:

  • 26 in the nation for lung cancer incidence at 58.5 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.
  • 3 in the nation for survival at 28.1%. The national average of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 23.7%.
  • 4 in the nation for early diagnosis at 28.2%. Nationally, only 24.5% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the five-year survival rate is much higher.
  • 29 in the nation for lung cancer screening at 6.2%. 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.
  • 2 in the nation for surgery with  28.5% 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.
  • 28 in the nation for lack of treatment with 20.5% of cases receiving no treatment. Nationally, 21.1% of cases receive no treatment.
  • In New York State, Black Americans are 22% less likely to be diagnosed early than white Americans 

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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