Delaware ranks 12th in lung cancer survival rate

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The American Lung Association’s 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report ranks Delaware 12th in the nation for early lung cancer survival. However, more work is needed to reduce the burden of lung cancer, the organization advised.

The American Lung Association’s sixth annual report highlights the toll of lung cancer in Delaware. It examines indicators including new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment, and screening rates.

The report also found that Delaware ranked 18th for lung cancer screening and 10th for early diagnosis but finds that Black individuals in the state are least likely to be diagnosed early – 20% less likely than white individuals. Nationally, the “State of Lung Cancer” report found that lung cancer survival rates are improving for everyone, including people of color. The five-year lung cancer survival rate for people of color has increased by 17% in the last two years, helping close the health disparity gap.

“Thankfully, in Delaware, the lung cancer survival rate has improved because of increased awareness, improved access to healthcare, and cutting-edge research into new treatments for the disease,” said Deborah Brown, chief mission officer at the American Lung Association. “However, lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths here in Delaware and across the nation, and our recent report makes it clear that we have more work to do, including making sure no one is left behind in efforts to improve lung cancer survival.

The report found that Delaware ranked:

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  • 27 out of 48 in the nation for the rate of new lung cancer cases at 57.4 per 100,000 people, 32% better over five years. The national rate is 54.6 per 100,000.
  • 12 out of 42 in the nation for survival at 28.3%, marking a 31% improvement over the past five years. The national rate of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 26.6%.
  • 10 out of 47 in the nation for early diagnosis at 28.4%. Nationally, only 26.6% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher.
  • 18 out of 51 in the nation for lung cancer screening at 6.3%. Lung cancer screening with annual low-dose CT scans for those at high risk can reduce the lung cancer death rate by up to 20%. Nationally, only 4.5% of those at high risk were screened.
  • 17 out of 47 in the nation for surgery at 21.3%, marking a 32% improvement over past five years. Lung cancer can often be treated with surgery if it is diagnosed at an early stage and has not spread. Nationally, 20.8% of cases underwent surgery.
  • 25 out of 47 in the nation for lack of treatment at 19.6%. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment.
  • 23 out of 51 in the nation for adults who are currently smokers at 13.4%. The national rate of adults who are current smokers is 13.5%.
  • 17 out of 51 in the nation for radon test results lower than EPA recommended action level at 15.4%, placing it among the best compared to other states, with a relatively low percentage of results worse than the EPA guidelines.

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report highlights that Delaware must do more to reduce the burden of lung cancer and encourages everyone to help end lung cancer. Join the Lung Association’s efforts by asking your member of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 4286, the Increasing Access to Lung Cancer Screening Act at Lung.org/SOLC.

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