In Alabama, lung cancer patients have the greatest risk of death – AL.com

In Alabama, lung cancer patients have the greatest risk of death – AL.com

Alabama is one of the worst states to have lung cancer, according to a new report.

The American Lung Association released its “State of Lung Cancer” data report, sharing statistics across the nation’s 50 states on lung cancer survival rate, incidence rate, treatment options, screening rate, and more.

The rate of new lung cancer cases in Alabama was 66.7– significantly higher than the national rate of 59.6, according to the American Lung Association. In the incidence rate, Alabama ranks 37th in the nation.

The percent of people who survive at least five years after being diagnosed with lung cancer is also lower in Alabama than it is nationally. The survival rate is 16.8%, while the national rate is 21.7%. Only 45 of 50 U.S. states keep survival data, the report shows, and Alabama ranks last in the five-year survival category.

Lung cancer incidence, staging, surgical treatment, and lack of treatment data was measured between the years 2012-2016 and includes malignant lung and bronchus tumors, according to the report’s methodology section. The American Lung Association report data comes from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries’ December 2018 data submission, the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Program of Cancer Registries.

Just over 20% of Alabama’s lung cancer cases are caught early, the report said, making the state’s early detection numbers consistent with the national average.

If the cancer is detected early and hasn’t spread to lymph nodes or other organs, surgery is often the best option for a high survival rate, the report claims. Out of 48 states with available data, Alabama ranked 36th with 18% of lung cancer patients undergoing surgery during their initial treatments, which is lower than the national rate of 20.6%

In accordance with the surgery rate, Alabama also ranked among the worst states for treating lung cancer patients. The lack of treatment could be because the cancer had spread too far, because the patient was in too poor of health, or because the patient refused treatment.

The report also said in Alabama, just 4.1% of those at high-risk for lung cancer were screened. That’s consistent with the national rate of 4.2%. Alabama is also one of the 12 states whose Medicaid fee-for-service programs did not cover lung cancer screening as of January 2019.

Read the full report here.


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