In a firs-ever report compiling both state and national lung cancer statistics, the American Lung Association ranked Wisconsin high in lung cancer survival rates, but low in access to cancer screening centers compared to other states.
The “State of Lung Cancer” report outlines the toll of lung cancer across 50 states and the District of Columbia and provides information for state policymakers on where to focus their efforts to better protect their residents from lung cancer and improve treatment options.
Policymakers must take more action to save the lives of Americans, Executive Vice President of the American Lung Association, Upper Midwest region Lew Bartfield said in an email to The Badger Herald.
“There will be more than 4,400 people in Wisconsin diagnosed with lung cancer and 3,000 will succumb to the deadly disease in 2018,” Bartfield said.
According to the report, the five-year lung cancer survival rate in Wisconsin is in the top 50 percent of states that compile survival statistics, with 19.9 percent of lung cancer patients surviving.
Lung cancer is more easily curable if the tumor is removed and Wisconsin ranked ninth in the nation for surgical treatment of cancerous tumors as part of the first course of treatment, the report said.
Lung cancer is five times more likely to be curable when it is diagnosed in its early stages before spreading. But Wisconsin ranks 41st of 50 states and the District of Columbia in cancer screening centers, with 2.9 centers per one million people, the report said.
Despite a relative shortage of screening centers, doctors diagnose 18.7 percent of lung cancer cases in Wisconsin during an early stage — a figure close to the national average of 18.9 percent. Though the report said both these statistics are “unfortunate.”
Despite advancements in lung cancer treatments and preventative care, Bartfield said Wisconsin leaders must still do more to implement policies aimed at reducing the impact of lung cancer in their state.
In all 50 states, members of the American Lung Association LUNG FORCE, a movement uniting women in their fight against cancer, will call for an increase funding for the National Institutes of Health, the report said.
Margo Ford, a survivor of stage-four lung cancer from Milwaukee, will present the report’s findings to members of Congress on March 14 in Washington D.C.
“We need more voices in this fight against cancer, and I am proud to share my story and advocate on behalf of the millions of people that have been affected by lung cancer,” Ford said.