American Lung Association Report: Lung Cancer Survival Rate Too Low in Oklahoma

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

Today, the American Lung Association in Oklahoma released its 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report, which finds that the early diagnosis of lung cancer in the state is far too low at 22.7%. Working to improve early diagnosis of lung cancer is key to addressing the burden of lung cancer in Oklahoma. The 6th annual report, released today, highlights the toll of lung cancer in Oklahoma and examines key indicators including new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment and screening rates.

The report also found that Oklahoma ranked 42nd in the nation for survival rates and 45th for lung cancer screening. In Oklahoma, Indigenous Peoples are most likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer. 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.

“Thankfully, in Oklahoma, the lung cancer survival rate has improved because of increased awareness, improved access to healthcare and cutting-edge research into new treatments for the disease,” said Charlie Gagen, Advocacy Director for the American Lung Association in Oklahoma. “However, lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths here in Oklahoma and across the nation, and our recent report makes it clear that we have more work to do to focus on increasing lung cancer screening.”

The report found that Oklahoma ranked:

  • 40 out of 48 in the nation for rate of new lung cancer cases at 63.51 per 100,000. The national rate is 54.6 per 100,000.
  • 42 out of 42 in the nation for survival at 21.2%. The national rate of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 26.6%.
  • 45 out of 47 in the nation for early diagnosis at 22.7%. Nationally, only 26.6% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher.
  • 45 out of 51 in the nation for lung cancer screening at 1.7%. 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.
  • 45 out of 47 in the nation for surgery at 15.5%. 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.
  • 40 out of 47 in the nation for lack of treatment at 24.2%. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment.

Thanks to an investment by the state’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center’s Stephenson Cancer Center received more than $1.7 million in 2023 to increase access to lung cancer screening across the state through a new program to bring lung cancer screenings to communities via medically equipped buses. The program will begin in 2024 and be fully implemented by 2028.

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

Get involved and help the mission of the American Lung Association. The Fight For Air Climb in Oklahoma City is coming up on March 9, 2024. Learn more at


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