Definitions of Terms | State of Lung Cancer | American Lung Association

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Definitions of Terms

Find definitions of terminology used throughout this report.


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

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Early Diagnosis
The percent of lung cancer cases diagnosed at an early stage, before the tumor has spread. See Stage at Diagnosis.

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Fee-For-Service Medicaid Coverage of Screening
Whether lung cancer screening is covered by a state’s fee-for-service Medicaid program, not covered, or no information is available.

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High Risk
Those at high risk for lung cancer and recommended for annual screening with low dose CT scan, defined as current smokers or former smokers who quit within the last 15 years and have a 30 pack-year history or more, which means one pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years, et cetera.

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Incidence Rate
The number of new lung cancer cases diagnosed each year per 100,000 people. 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 diagnosis, survival, surgical treatment, lack of treatment, and screening among those at high risk and coverage of screening by fee-for-service Medicaid by state.

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Lack of Treatment
The percent of patients who did not receive any form of treatment for lung cancer after their diagnosis.

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Screening Rate
The percent of those at high risk for lung cancer who were screened using low dose CT in 2018.

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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How the rate for a state compares to the national rate and other states. Top tier is the best and bottom tier is the worst.

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