Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer deaths, and it’s estimated that 1,220 New Hampshire residents will be diagnosed with this disease in 2020 alone. The 2020 “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. The report found that more Americans are surviving the disease and that New Hampshire had improved its record for patients receiving an early diagnosis by 34%. It also found that New Hampshire must do more to improve screening rates, and tobacco cessation and prevention.
For the first time, the annual “State of Lung Cancer” report also explores the lung cancer burden among racial and ethnic groups at the national and state levels. Although this report did not indicate that New Hampshire had substantial lung cancer health disparities, it did find that nationally people of color are facing poorer health outcomes 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 New Hampshire the survival rate is 25.2%, which goes hand in hand with the state’s high rate of early diagnosis (24.1%) and surgery as a first course of treatment (25.2%).
“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 Lance Boucher, Senior Division Director of State Public Policy for the American Lung Association in New Hampshire. “Much more can and must be done in New Hampshire 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. This simple screening test has been available since 2015, but they have yet to be considered truly routine or mainstream. The report ranked New Hampshire as 3rd best in the nation on their rate of high-risk patients receiving screenings, which was recorded at only 12.1%
“Lung cancer screening is a powerful tool to save lives,” said Boucher. “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 Hampshire.
More treatment options are available for lung cancer than ever before, yet not everyone is receiving treatment following diagnosis. In New Hampshire 10.6% 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,” Boucher 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.
About the American Lung Association
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.