Definitions of Terms | American Lung Association

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Definitions of Terms

Find definitions of terminology used throughout this report.


Accredited Lung Cancer Screening Centers
Facilities designated by the American College of Radiology to screen for lung cancer using low-dose CT scans following a formal application and evaluation process. These centers must meet specific quality and safety requirements for the scanning technology and protocols.

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Burden of Lung Cancer
The impact of the disease on states as measured by the key indicators.

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Incidence Rate
The number of new lung cancer cases diagnosed each year per 100,000 people. So an incidence rate of 71 per 100,000 in North Carolina (population 10 million) would mean about 7,124 new cases were diagnosed in that state each year.

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Key Indicators
The factors measured for this report: incidence, early stage or late stage diagnosis, survival, risk factors, surgical treatment and number of lung cancer screening facilities by state.

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Per Capita
In this report, the rate of screening centers per 1 million people is described as per capita. For example, North Carolina has 60 screening centers and a population of about 10 million, or about 6 screening centers per million people.

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Smoking Rate
Percent of adults who are current smokers, meaning they have ever smoked 100 cigarettes or more and currently smoke some days or every day.

Stage at Diagnosis
Lung cancer stage is determined by a combination of factors: where the lung cancer cells are located, the size of the lung cancer tumor, and if and where the lung cancer has spread. Cases described as being diagnosed at an early stage are generally equivalent to stage I. Cases described as being diagnosed at a late stage generally equivalent to stage IV.

Surgical Treatment
Surgery for lung cancer involves removing part of or the entire lung to get rid of the tumor/diseased lung tissue, and indicates that lung cancer was caught early and unlikely to have spread.

Survival Rate
The percent of people still alive 5 years after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

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