New Report Reveals Tennessee Among Worst in Nation in Lung Cancer Rates

Lung Association also shows Black community in Tennessee are least likely to receive treatment

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report reveals that Tennessee ranks 45th in the nation for lung cancer rates, making the state among the worst in the nation. So, more work is needed to reduce the burden of lung cancer and save lives.

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

The report also found that Tennessee’s Black community is least likely to receive treatment. Tennessee also ranked 49th in percentage of adults who are smokers.

“Lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer deaths here in Tennessee and across the nation, and our recent report makes it clear that we have more work to do to lower smoking rates, get high-risk individuals screened and address the health disparities in our Black community,” said Shannon Baker, Advocacy Director for the Lung Association in Tennessee.

The report found that Tennessee ranked:

  • 45 out of 48 in the nation for rate of new lung cancer cases at 70 per 100,000. The national rate is 54.6 per 100,000.
  • 33 out of 42 in the nation for survival at 23.6%. The national rate of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 26.6%.
  • 31 out of 47 in the nation for early diagnosis at 25.9%. Nationally, only 26.6% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher.
  • 30 out of 51 in the nation for lung cancer screening at 4.2%. 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.
  • 33 out of 47 in the nation for surgery at 18.0%. 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.
  • 10 out of 47 in the nation for lack of treatment at 17.4%. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment.

The Lung Association in Tennessee calls on state lawmakers to increase funding for the Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Program to $13 million in its upcoming budget. Currently at $2.6 million, state funding is only 5.6% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation of $75.6 million. The recommended increase would be a significant step in the right direction to help prevent tobacco use initiation and to support Tennesseans who want to quit.

Nationally, the “State of Lung Cancer” report found that 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.

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report highlights that Tennessee 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 Lung.org/SOLC.

For more information, contact:

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

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