The American Lung Association has recently published “State of Lung Cancer” report in November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month. The analysis of the report says that most Americans are surviving lung cancer in recent years which is positive news. But the bad news is that very few people at high risk are getting the recommended screening.
The positive trends were seen in survival numbers. When compared with a decade ago, the five-year survival rate among lung cancer patients was 26% higher in the year 2015. The report shows that the five-year survival rate is now 21.7%, up from 17.2% a decade ago. Over the same period, new lung cancer cases are declined by 19%.
Now, the bad news: Most American lung cancer patients are being diagnosed at a later stage where the odds of cure are low. Only 22% of all lung cancer patients survive for five years. Screening for lung cancer is recommended for high-risk people including adults aging 55 to 80 years who are heavy smokers or have quit smoking within past 15 years.
According to this report, the national incidence rate of lung cancer between years 2012 and 2016 was 59.6 cases per 100000 people. The data released says that rate of new lung cancer cases in Kansas is 60.9 per 1000 people and the state ranks 27th among all states. In Missouri, the rate of new cases is 73.2 and it ranks 5th among all states.
“Most cases are only caught at a very late stage. You don’t get symptoms until it’s very late and it’s very developed,” said Zach Jump, national director for epidemiology and statistics at the American Lung Association. “If you get diagnosed at an early stage, which very few people are, the tumor’s often limited, it hasn’t spread and at that point, you’re often eligible for surgery where they can cut it out and it’s essentially curative,” he said. “The difference between an early diagnosis and a late diagnosis is about a five times higher survival rate.”
ALA report also found that as of January 2019, Medicaid programs in 31 states were covered in lung cancer screening.
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