ANCHORAGE, AK | November 15, 2022
The 2022 “State of Lung Cancer” report reveals that Alaska ranks 46th in the nation for early diagnosis of lung cancer. The American Lung Association’s 5th annual report, released today, highlights the toll of lung cancer in Alaska 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 Alaska, the lung cancer survival rate is below the national average at 22.2%. 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 Alaska, Indigenous People are most likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer.
“Lung cancer screening is key to early diagnosis, and early diagnosis saves lives. Unfortunately, here in Alaska, not enough people are getting this lifesaving screening,” said Jennifer Chikoyak, Senior Manager of Health Promotions at the American Lung Association. “We all can help reduce the burden of lung cancer in Alaska. If you are eligible for lung cancer screening, we encourage you to speak with your doctor about it. If a loved one is eligible, please encourage them to get screened.”
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 Alaska ranked:
- 17th in the nation for rate of new lung cancer cases at 54 per 100,000. The national rate is 56.7 per 100,000.
- 38th in the nation for survival at 22.2%. The national rate of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 25%.
- 46th in the nation for early diagnosis at 22.5%. Nationally, only 25.8% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher.
- 31st in the nation for lung cancer screening at 5.7%. 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 5.8% of those at high risk were screened.
- 39th in the nation for surgery at 17.2%. 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.
- 18th in the nation for lack of treatment at 18.5%. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment.
“State of Lung Cancer” highlights that Alaska 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.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.
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