About every two and a half minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with lung cancer, and every day, lung cancer takes the lives more than 356 of our friends, neighbors and loved ones. But now there is hope, more Americans than ever are surviving lung cancer. While the disease remains the leading cause of cancer deaths among both women and men, over the past five years, the survival rate has increased 21% nationally to 25% yet remains significantly lower among communities of color at 20%.
This year’s report also examines the lifesaving potential of lung cancer screening, which can detect the disease at an earlier stage when it’s more curable, and the importance of advancements in lung cancer research which holds the promise for better treatment options.
Based on new research, in March 2021, the United States Preventive Services Task Force expanded its recommendation for screening to include a larger age range and more current and former smokers. This dramatically increased the number of women and Black Americans who are considered at high risk for lung cancer.
For the third consecutive year, the “State of Lung Cancer” report explores the lung cancer burden among racial and ethnic minority groups at the national and state levels. In addition to lower survival rates, people of color who are diagnosed with lung cancer face worse outcomes compared to white Americans: they are less likely to be diagnosed early, less likely to receive surgical treatment, and more likely to not receive any treatment.
A strategic imperative of the American Lung Association is to defeat lung cancer, and to do so, we use a variety of tactics and stakeholders to address the disease and its risk factors, including public policy efforts and public health protections, awareness of lung cancer screening and more.
The “State of Lung Cancer” report provides a state-specific understanding of the burden of lung cancer and opportunities to address this deadly disease.
It does not reflect the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer diagnosis, treatment, or survival as the data in the report preceded the emergence of the novel coronavirus.
The report also serves as both a guidepost and rallying call, providing policymakers, researchers, healthcare practitioners, as well as patients, caregivers and others committed to ending lung cancer by identifying where their state can best focus its resources to decrease the toll of lung cancer.