American Lung Association’s ‘State of Lung Cancer’ Report Finds New York Among Best States for 5-Year Survival

American Lung Association’s new report examines toll of lung cancer in New York, identifies disparity within New York’s Indigenous communities as least likely to receive surgical treatment

Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer deaths, and it’s estimated that 13,370 New Yorkers 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 and outlines steps every state can take to better protect its residents from lung cancer. The report finds New York is among the best states on 5-year survival rate and early stage diagnosis, but it still has a ways to go to get high risk patients into screenings.

For the first time, this year’s 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 New York State indigenous populations are 32% less likely to receive surgery as a first course of treatment that White New Yorkers. Lung cancer is more likely to be curable if the tumor can be surgically removed.

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 York the 5-year survival rate is 25.7% and the early stage diagnosis rate is 26.1%, earning the state  a top 5 ranking in both categories.

“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 American Lung Association’s National Assistant Vice President for State Public Policy Michael Seilback. “Much more can and must be done in New York to prevent the disease and support those facing the disease.  We also know we must pay greater attention to our indigenous communities to ensure they have the resources and access they need to receive proper treatment.”

Dr. Stephanie Smith-Marrone, Medical Director at Cancer Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital said, “There is a lot of promising information in this report for New York State – but there are a few areas we can still improve. Most importantly, we must get more high-risk patients to screenings, and we can do more to ensure everyone with a diagnosis receives access to healthcare to discuss treatment options. No one should face lung cancer 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 5.7% of those eligible in New York State have been screened.

“Lung cancer screening is a powerful tool to save lives,” said Smith-Marrone. “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 York.”

More treatment options are available for lung cancer than ever before, yet not everyone is receiving treatment following diagnosis. In New York State 15.7% 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,” Seilback 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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