New Report Reveals South Dakota is 8th Best in Nation for Early Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Report also shows South Dakota is 7th best for lung cancer screenings 

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report reveals South Dakota ranks as the 8th best state in the country for early lung cancer diagnosis. The state has a 28.6% rate for diagnosing lung cancer at an early stage, which is higher than the national average of 26.6%.

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

The report also shows the state is ranked 7th best in the nation for lung cancer screenings. South Dakota has a 7.6% 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%. 

“Thankfully, in South Dakota, 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 Molly Collins, Advocacy Director at the American Lung Association. “However, lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths here in South Dakota and across the nation, and our recent report makes it clear that we have more work to do to prevent new lung cancer cases and increase treatment.” 

The report found that South Dakota ranked:

  • 24 out of 48 in the nation for rate of new lung cancer cases at 56.37 per 100,000. The national rate is 54.6 per 100,000.
  • 8 out of 47 in the nation for early diagnosis at 28.6%. Nationally, only 26.6% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher.
  • 7 out of 51 in the nation for lung cancer screening at 7.6%. 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.
  • 26 out of 47 in the nation for lack of treatment at 20.1%. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment.

The report also reveals that South Dakota also has the worst radon problem in the nation, with 60% of radon tests results at or above the action level recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco use, so it continues to be critical for the state to work to address that problem as well.

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report highlights that South Dakota 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

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.

Get involved and help the mission of the American Lung Association. Learn more at

For more information, contact:

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

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