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Medicine & Science
American Lung Association Finds That Texas Can do More to Reduce the Toll of Lung Cancer – the #1 Cancer Killer of Women and Men
News Release
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2018 ‘State of Lung Cancer’ report shows how the disease’ rates vary across the country and what Texas can do to better support lung cancer patients and those at high risk 

 

DALLAS/HOUSTONEvery two and a half minutes someone in the U.S. will be diagnosed with lung cancer. The American Lung Association’s inaugural LUNG FORCE “State of Lung Cancer” report is the first time that these national and state lung cancer statistics have been analyzed in one report to show how the toll of lung cancer varies across the country, and it states how Texas can do more to protect their residents from lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths.

 

“In 2018, there will be more than 15,460 people in Texas diagnosed with lung cancer and 9.310 will succumb to the deadly disease, and more must be done to save lives,” said JoAnna Strother, regional director of public policy for American Lung Association, Southwest Region. “The American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative was created to help defeat lung cancer, and this new report outlines what we need to do to succeed – tackling both the disease and its risk factors as well as supporting access to preventative health services and treatment options.”

The LUNG FORCE “State of Lung Cancer” 2018 report finds that lung cancer diagnosis and survival rates vary state by state. It also highlights that some states are yet to report on all of the key lung cancer indicators. By better understanding the impact of lung cancer at the state level, we can enact policies and focus attention where the need is greatest. This report covers the following measures of lung cancer burden and shows where Texas ranks in comparison to the rest of the U.S.:

·         Incidence: On average, the higher prevalence of smoking, the more lung cancer cases in a state. Texas ranks tenth out of 50 states and the District of Columbia with a lung cancer incidence of 56.4 cases per 100,000 people. There are a variety of risk factors associated with lung cancer, including smoking, exposure to radon gas, air pollution and secondhand smoke. Radon testing and mitigation, healthy air protections, and reducing the smoking rate through tobacco tax increases, smokefree air laws and access to comprehensive quit smoking services are all effective ways to prevent new lung cancer cases.

·         Stage at Diagnosis: People diagnosed at early stages of lung cancer are five times more likely to survive, but unfortunately only 18.9 percent of lung cancer cases nationally are diagnosed at an early stage. In Texas, only 17.3 percent of lung cancer cases were diagnosed at early stages, when it is most likely to be curable.

·         Screening Centers: The availability of accredited lung cancer screening sites has been shown to positively relate to survival, with each additional screening site per million people being associated with a 0.3 percentage point increase in the lung cancer survival rate. For screening centers, Texas ranks 32 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia, with 3.8 screening centers per million people. Raising awareness of these screening facilities, as well as criteria for low-dose CT scans, can improve patient outcomes.

·         Surgical Treatment: Lung cancer is more likely to be curable if the tumor can be surgically removed, and surgery is more likely to be an option if the diagnosis is made at an early stage before the cancer has spread. In Texas, 16.6 percent of cases underwent surgery as part of the first course of treatment, ranking 44 out of 48 states and the District of Columbia for surgical treatment. Quality healthcare and new treatment options for lung cancer are needed to increase survival rates.

“While we have seen some advancements in lung cancer treatment options and a new method of early detection, the burden of lung cancer is not the same everywhere,” Strother said. “Treatment, exposure to risk factors, and access to screening facilities vary from state to state, and Texas’ leaders must do more to act and implement proven policies to reduce the deadly toll of lung cancer.”

On Wednesday, March 14, lung cancer survivor Clara Lambert, from Houston, will be heading to Capitol Hill to share her story and these startling statistics with her members of Congress. LUNG FORCE Heroes from all 50 states will be asking Congress to support increased funding for the National Institutes of Health for better treatment and early detection of lung cancer, as well as sharing why quality and affordable healthcare is especially important for lung cancer patients.

The LUNG FORCE “State of Lung Cancer” report is both a guide post and rallying cry, providing policymakers, researchers, healthcare practitioners, as well as patients, caregivers and others committed to ending lung cancer, with a one-stop resource for identifying how their state can best focus to support lung cancer patients – like Lambert, their caregivers, and those at high risk for lung cancer.

For media interested in speaking with an expert about the LUNG FORCE “State of Lung Cancer” report, or Lambert on her upcoming trip to Washington, D.C., contact the American Lung Association at Heather.Mangan@Lung.org or 312-801-7631. 




Remembering Jim Guidry GRCC Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership


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