INDIANAPOLIS, IN | November 17, 2020
Today, the American Lung Association released the annual “State of Lung Cancer” Report, which reveals that Indiana continues to have some of the highest lung cancer rates in the country. The state also ranks 48th (out of 51) in smoking rates.
The 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. The third annual report finds that more Americans are surviving the disease, as the nationwide five-year lung cancer survival rate of 22.6% reflects a 13% improvement over the past five years.
“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 Nick Torres, Advocacy Director for the Lung Association. “Much more can and must be done in Indiana to prevent the disease and support those facing it. Indiana has the lowest cigarette tax in the region, and some of the cheapest tobacco products in the country. Raising tobacco taxes and increasing the price of these products is proven to be the best policy change we can make to lower smoking rates and save lives. To fully realize the potential health benefits of the policy change, lawmakers must also dedicate a portion of this revenue to expand smoking cessation access for those who want to quit.”
Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer deaths, and it’s estimated that 5,700 Hoosiers will be diagnosed with this disease in 2020 alone.
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 7.2% of those eligible in Indiana have been screened.
“Lung cancer screening is a powerful tool that save lives,” said Torres. “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 Indiana.”
The "State of Lung Cancer" report finds that the burden of lung cancer varies by state. By better understanding the impact of lung cancer across the nation, efforts and policies can be focused where the needs are greatest. Below are the key findings for Indiana:
- Incidence: Incidence refers to the number of new cases of lung cancer in each state. On average, the higher prevalence of smoking, the more lung cancer cases in a state. The national lung cancer incidence rate is 58.7. Indiana ranks 46th (out of 51) in lung cancer incidence rate in the nation, at a rate of 72.5 people out of 100,000 people – Below Average.
- Early Diagnosis: Nationally, only 22.9% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher. Indiana ranks 44th in the nation at 20% – Below Average.
- Surgical Treatment: Lung cancer can often be treated with surgery if it is diagnosed at an early stage and has not spread widely. Nationally, 20.6 % of cases underwent surgery. Indiana ranks 39th in the nation at 17.5% – Below Average.
- Lack of Treatment: There are multiple reasons why patients may not receive treatment. Some of these reasons may be unavoidable, but no one should go untreated because of lack of provider or patient knowledge, stigma associated with lung cancer, fatalism after diagnosis, or cost of treatment. Nationally, about 15.2% of cases receive no treatment. Indiana ranks 19th in the nation at 14.6% – Average.
- Screening and Prevention: Screening for lung cancer with annual low-dose CT scans among those who qualify can reduce the lung cancer death rate by up to 20%. Nationally, only 5.7% of those who qualify were screened. Indiana ranked 22nd with 7.2% – Average.
Learn more about the "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 a lung cancer survivor about their experience, contact James A. Martinez at the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-445-2501.
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, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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