Today is World Lung Cancer Awareness Day, and it is good to be able to report that lung cancer patients are now living longer than ever before. Although there are different survival rates for different kinds of lung cancer, the average rate reported by the American Cancer Society has increased to 26% from 23% just in the last year.
Arkansas lung cancer statistics
That’s the good news. Unfortunately, here in Arkansas we also have some bad news, according to the American Lung Association. Arkansas ranks 49th of the 50 states for the number of lung cancer cases, and below average among states for 5-year survival rate. Arkansas’s rate for lung cancer cases is 77 out of 100,000 people, compared with the national average of 58.
One of the main reasons for Arkansas’s high rate of lung cancer is our high rate of smoking. We’re #44 among all the states for smokers. In addition to this increased risk, there are also differences in the level of treatment Arkansans receive.
Arkansas is 42nd in the number of lung cancer patients who have surgery performed. 20% of Black Arkansans and 19% of white Arkansans receive no treatment at all for lung cancer.
Arkansas is 38th in the number of high-risk individuals who receive lung cancer screenings. Only 4% of high-risk Arkansans receive lung cancer screening, though MANA offers this service for free.
Why is lung cancer so deadly?
Lung cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, causing the highest number of deaths among both men and women in the United States. One reason is that it is often caught after it is already fairly advanced. Persistent cough, hoarseness, shortness of breath, and chest pain are signs of lung cancer, but these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, including allergies.
Smoking is by far the most common cause of lung cancer. If you smoke or if you used to smoke, talk with your doctor about whether you should have a lung cancer screening. MANA Imaging is the only American College of Radiology Accredited Lung Cancer Screening Center in Arkansas.
If you are interested in quitting, check out Be Well Arkansas, a tobacco cessation program.
Your primary care provider may also refer you to a pulmonologist.