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.
The percent of lung cancer cases diagnosed at an early stage, before the tumor has spread. See Stage at Diagnosis.
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.
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, or any combination that equals 30 pack years. This criteria for high risk is set by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF). There are other risk factors to consider as well, such as exposure to radon gas, air pollution and secondhand smoke, and sometimes a person is genetically pre-disposed to be at risk for lung cancer. However, “high risk” in this report is defined by the criteria set by USPSTF.
Based on new research, in March of 2021, the United States Preventive Services Task Force expanded its recommendation for screening to include a lower age range of 50 years and pack-year history of 20. Screening rates in this report are from before the guidelines were updated and do not yet reflect screening among those newly eligible.
The factors measured for this report: new cases, early diagnosis, survival, surgical treatment, lack of treatment, screening among those at high risk, and coverage of screening by fee-for-service Medicaid by state.
Lack of Treatment
The percent of patients who did not receive any form of treatment for lung cancer after their diagnosis.
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.
The percent of those at high risk for lung cancer who were screened using low dose CT in 2020.
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.
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.
The percent of people still alive 5 years after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
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.