American Lung Association’s ‘State of Lung Cancer’ Report Finds Connecticut Among Best States for 5-year Survival Rate and Early Stage Diagnosis

American Lung Association’s new report examines toll of lung cancer in Connecticut identifies disparity in early diagnosis of Black Americans

Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer deaths, and it’s estimated that 2,650 Connecticut residents will be diagnosed with this disease in 2020 alone. The 2020 “State of Lung Cancer” report from the American Lung Association examines the toll of lung cancer throughout the nation, ranks states in different categories, and outlines steps every state can take to better protect its residents from lung cancer. This year’s report finds Connecticut had a top 5 ranking in 4 categories: 5-year survival rate, early diagnosis of lung cancer, surgery as a first course of treatment, and smoking rate.  

For the first time, the 3rd annual “State of Lung Cancer” report explores the lung cancer burden among racial and ethnic groups at the national and state levels. Nationally, the report finds that while more Americans are surviving the disease, people of color are facing poorer health outcomes than white residents.  In Connecticut, Black Americans are 15% less likely to benefit from early diagnosis than white residents.

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 Connecticut the survival rate is 27.1%, the early diagnosis rate is 27.2%, and the rate for surgery as a first course of treatment is 26.5%. 

“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 Ruth Canovi, Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association in Connecticut. “There is a lot of good news in Connecticut – including a declining smoking rate and a high early diagnosis rate - but we must continue to increase our efforts to get those at high-risk into screenings.  That’s a real opportunity to save lives.”

Dr. David Hill Director of Clinical Research, Waterbury Pulmonary Associates said, “It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the state with the best survival rate also ranks highly for early stage diagnosis and surgery as a first course of treatment – we know they are all connected.  To continue our progress we must make sure those at high risk and those not receiving any treatment have access to support and treatment options.”

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 7.6% of those eligible in Connecticut have been screened.

“Lung cancer screening is a powerful tool to save lives,” said Hill. “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 Connecticut.”

More treatment options are available for lung cancer than ever before, yet not everyone is receiving treatment following diagnosis. In Connecticut 11.9% 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,” Canovi said.

Learn more about "State of Lung Cancer" at Lung.org/solc. For media interested in speaking with a lung cancer expert about advances in lung cancer and the "State of Lung Cancer" 2020 report or lung cancer survivor about their experience, contact Jennifer Solomon at the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 516-680-8927.

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Solomon
(516) 680-8927
[email protected]

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