American Lung Association’s new report examines toll of lung cancer in Texas, identifies opportunities to save lives with improved access to screenings
Today, the American Lung Association released the annual “State of Lung Cancer” Report, which indicates that Texas ranks very poorly in for lung cancer screening (45th out of 49).
Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer deaths, and it’s estimated that 14,830 Texans will be diagnosed with this disease in 2020 alone. 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 Texas can do more to improve access to lung cancer screening and treatment.
The 3rd 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 “State of Lung Cancer” 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. In Texas the survival rate is 21.8%, roughly in line with the national average. However, racial disparities continue to exist, as Black Texans are the least likely to receive surgical treatment.
“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 Charlie Gagen, Advocacy Director, American Lung Association. “Much more can and must be done in Texas to prevent the disease and support those facing the disease. Texans understand this, which is why they made the right choice last year to continue funding for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, a critical tool in the fight against lung cancer.”
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 22.9% of lung cancer cases nationally are diagnosed at an early stage. While this simple screening test has been available since 2015, only 2.2% of those eligible in Texas have been screened.
“Lung cancer screening is a powerful tool to save lives,” said Gagen. “It’s a relatively new test, and we’re only seeing a fraction of those who qualify actually getting screened. We’re pushing for Texas Medicaid program to cover this screening, as well as greater awareness of this test to save more lives here in Texas.”
More treatment options are available for lung cancer than ever before, yet not everyone is receiving treatment following diagnosis. In Texas 21.5% of those diagnosed did not receive any form of treatment.
“We want to ensure that everyone has access to treatment options and quality and affordable healthcare. No one who wants care should have to forgo treatment due to lack of access or cost,” Gagen said.
Learn more about “State of Lung Cancer” at Lung.org/solc. For media interested in speaking with a lung cancer expert about advances in lung cancer and the “State of Lung Cancer” 2020 report or lung cancer survivor about their experience, contact James A. Martinez at the American Lung Association at James.Martinez@Lung.org or 312-445-2501.