To bring greater awareness to lung cancer and its treatment, the American Lung Association has rolled out its State of Lung Cancer 2023 Report. The findings provide hope – treatment options are improving and survival rates have dramatically increased, but the report also showcases what steps can be taken to save even more lives.
About every two minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with lung cancer. Every single day, lung cancer takes over 300 lives of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones. But, as the report illustrates, more Americans than ever are surviving lung cancer.
While lung cancer remains the leading cause of death among men and women, over the past five years, the survival rate has increased by over 22% nationally. Additionally, the survival rate among communities of color has improved at an even faster pace such that it is no longer significantly lower, on a national basis, compared to white Americans. Moreover, the rate of new cases of lung cancer has decreased over the last five years by 8% nationally.
To save more lives, it’s critical to prevent lung cancer when possible and to diagnose the disease at its earliest possible stages. Prevention can come in the form of environmental, consumer and workplace regulations. But it also comes from educating the public about the dangers of toxins such as smoking, asbestos, and radon. Early detection is also key – survival rates could dramatically improve even further if most lung cancers were detected early. Lung cancer screening options need to be made as readily available as possible. The report finds that currently, only 26% percent of cases are caught in the early stages of the disease.
The State of Lung Cancer 2023 report considers a number of statistics on a state by state basis including: new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment, screening and prevention, racial disparities and Medicaid fee-for-service programs.
Great strides continue to be made in the detection and treatment of lung cancer, but policy makers must do even more to protect the public, increase awareness and to expand on lung cancer screening options and access to healthcare.