CUMBERLAND — Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer deaths and the 2020 “State of Lung Cancer” report from the American Lung Association finds that while more Americans are surviving the disease, people of color are facing poorer health outcomes than white residents and more can be done to improve lung cancer screening, early diagnosis, surgical treatment and survival rates.

The third annual “State of Lung Cancer” report examines the toll of lung cancer throughout the nation and outlines steps every state can take to better protect its residents from lung cancer. For the first time, this year’s report explores the lung cancer burden among racial and ethnic groups at the national and state levels.

This year’s report highlights the positive trend of increased lung cancer survival as the nationwide five-year lung cancer survival rate of 22.6% reflects a 13% improvement over the past five years.

“While we celebrate that more Americans are surviving lung cancer, too many people are being left behind, and the disease still remains the leading cause of cancer deaths,” said Aleks Casper, advocacy director, American Lung Association. “Much more can and must be done here to prevent the disease and support of those facing the disease.”

The stage at which someone is diagnosed with lung cancer varies significantly by state. Nationally, only 22.9% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the five-year survival rate is much higher at 59%.

Part of the reason that lung cancer is so deadly is because most cases are diagnosed at a later stage, after the disease has spread. Lung cancer screening is the key to catching lung cancer early when the disease is most curable, but only 5.7% of lung cancer cases nationally are diagnosed at an early stage. “Lung cancer screening is a powerful tool to save lives,” said Casper. “It’s a relatively new test, and we’re only seeing a fraction of those who qualify actually getting screened. We’re pushing for greater awareness of this test to save more lives.”

More treatment options are available for lung cancer than ever before, yet not everyone is receiving treatment following diagnosis.

Learn more at Lung.org/solc.

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