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 decade, the survival rate has increased. A new report from the American Lung Association—the 2019 State of Lung Cancer—examines this promising trend, including what is driving the change and what still needs to be done to increase survival even further.
The 5-year survival rate is now 21.7%, up from 17.2% a decade ago—a 26% improvement over the past 10 years. This year’s report supports both the lifesaving potential of lung cancer screening, which finds the disease at an early stage when it is more curable, and the importance of advancements in lung cancer research, which hold the promise for better treatment options.
“Lung cancer has touched far too many lives, and this year’s State of Lung Cancer report offers tremendous hope and reaffirms our belief in the lifesaving potential of screening and cancer research to turn the tide against this disease,” said American Lung Association National President and Chief Executive Officer Harold Wimmer.
Call for State-Based Initiatives
The annual report also examines the toll of lung cancer in every state and opportunities for states to accelerate efforts to save more lives and prevent new lung cancer cases.
“To truly realize the benefit of lung cancer screening, states need to ensure that those eligible for screening are aware of the simple test and speak with their doctor,” Mr. Wimmer said.
According to the report, nationwide, only 4.2% of those who qualify were screened in 2018. If everyone at high risk were screened, close to 48,000 lives could be saved nationwide.
“No one should lose their life to lung cancer because they weren’t aware they qualified for screening or couldn’t access treatment options,” Mr. Wimmer said. “All states must make addressing lung cancer an urgent public health priority, and this new report offers solutions and opportunities for states to address the toll of lung cancer.”
Learn more about State of Lung Cancer report at lung.org/solc.The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.