American Lung Association’s ‘State of Lung Cancer’ Report Finds New Mexico Near Bottom of States for Lung Cancer Early Diagnosis

The Lung Association’s new report examines toll of lung cancer in New Mexico, identifies opportunities to save lives with screening

Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer deaths, and it’s estimated that 1,040 New Mexico residents will be diagnosed with this disease in 2020 alone. The 2020 “State of Lung Cancer” report from the American Lung Association finds that while more Americans are surviving the disease, people of color are facing poorer health outcomes than white residents, and New Mexico can do more to improve screening rates.

The 3rd annual “State of Lung Cancer” report examines the toll of lung cancer throughout the nation and outlines steps every state can take to better protect its residents from lung cancer. For the first time, this year’s report explores the lung cancer burden among racial and ethnic groups at the national and state levels.

This year’s “State of Lung Cancer” highlights the positive trend of increased lung cancer survival, as the nationwide five-year lung cancer survival rate of 22.6% reflects a 13% improvement over the past five years. In New Mexico the survival rate is 20%.  

“While we celebrate that more Americans are surviving lung cancer, too many people are being left behind, and the disease still remains the leading cause of cancer deaths,” said JoAnna Strother, Senior Director of Advocacy, American Lung Association. “Much more can and must be done in New Mexico to prevent the disease and support those facing the disease.”

Part of the reason that lung cancer is so deadly is because most cases are diagnosed at a later stage, after the disease has spread. Lung cancer screening is the key to catching lung cancer early when the disease is most curable, but only 22.9% of lung cancer cases nationally are diagnosed at an early stage. While this simple screening test has been available since 2015, only 1.5% of those eligible in New Mexico have been screened.

“Lung cancer screening is a powerful tool to save lives,” said Strother. “It’s a relatively new test, and we’re only seeing a fraction of those who qualify actually getting screened. We’re pushing for greater awareness of this test to save more lives here in New Mexico.”

More treatment options are available for lung cancer than ever before, yet not everyone is receiving treatment following diagnosis. In New Mexico 23.8% of those diagnosed did not receive any form of treatment.

“We want to ensure that everyone has access to treatment options and quality and affordable healthcare. No one who wants care should have to forgo treatment due to lack of access or cost,” Strother said.

Learn more about "State of Lung Cancer" at

For more information, contact:

Bo Smith
[email protected]

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