New Report Reveals Iowa is 12th Worst in the Nation for Lung Cancer Cases

Report also shows Iowa is 11th best for lung cancer screenings

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report reveals Iowa ranks as the 12th worst in the country for new lung cancer cases. The state saw 61.14 new cases per 100,000, higher than the national average of 54.6 new cases per 100,000.

The American Lung Association’s 6th annual report, released today, highlights the toll of lung cancer in Iowa and examines key indicators including new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment and screening rates.

The report also found that while Iowa is seeing more cases than the national average, the state is ranked 10th best in the nation for early diagnosis and 11th best for lung cancer screenings. Iowa has 24.8% rate for diagnosing cases in an early stage; and a 7.1% lung cancer screening rate compared to the national average of 4.5%. Annual lung cancer screenings for those at high risk can reduce the lung cancer death rate by up to 20%. Iowa also has some of the highest radon levels in the United States. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Nationally, the “State of Lung Cancer” report found 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 Iowa, 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 Kristina Hamilton, Advocacy Director at the American Lung Association in Iowa. “However, lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths here in Iowa and across the nation, and our recent report makes it clear that we have more work to do to improve the survival rate for Iowans as well as establish state funding for cancer research.”


The report found that Iowa ranked:

  • 37 out of 48 in the nation for rate of new lung cancer cases at 61.14 per 100,000. The national rate is 54.6 per 100,000.
  • 26 out of 42 in the nation for survival at 24.8%. The national rate of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 26.6%.
  • 38 out of 47 in the nation for early diagnosis at 24.8%. Nationally, only 26.6% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher.
  • 11 out of 51 in the nation for lung cancer screening at 7.1%. 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 4.5% of those at high risk were screened.
  • 36 out of 47 in the nation for surgery at 17.6%. 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.
  • 15 out of 47 in the nation for lack of treatment at 18.2%. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment.

After the Gail Orcutt School Radon Safety Act became law in Iowa in 2022, public schools throughout the state began working towards testing their attendance centers for radon and if necessary, mitigating radon in their schools. This law helps ensure that Iowa school children and teachers are protected from radon exposure and will potentially save lives. Schools have until 2027 to comply with this new law, and the test for radon must be repeated once every 5 years.

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report highlights that Iowa 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. Fight For Air Climb Des Moines is coming up this spring on April 7. Learn more at

Media Resources:

For more information, contact:

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

Asthma Basics Workshop - National
, | May 07, 2024
Asthma Basics Workshop - National
, | May 15, 2024