NJ ranks high in lung cancer survival. But it ranks near the bottom in the key category.
New Jersey ranks among the national leaders in lung cancer survival.
But it lags behind most U.S. states in an almost equally important category: screenings.
The American Lung Association released its 2022 “State of Lung Cancer” report on Tuesday, breaking down the impact of the disease in New Jersey and the country.
The annual report highlighted good news, saying that gains have been made in recent years, particularly in terms of survival rates. However, he also stressed that more work was needed – including in the Garden State.
The national five-year survival rate rose to 25%, according to the report, a 21% increase from five years earlier. New Jersey ranks fifth in the United States with 28.5%.
However, disparities continue to be a problem, according to the report. The national survival rate remained at just 20% among communities of color.
According to the American Lung Association, people of color who are diagnosed with lung cancer have poorer outcomes than white Americans, including poorer survival rates, earlier diagnosis, surgical treatment and overall treatment.
New Jersey was no exception.
In the Garden State, “Black Americans are most likely to receive no treatment – 34% less likely than white Americans at 27.2% versus 20.3%,” according to an ALA statement.
Here’s how New Jersey ranked in the other categories:
- 16th in the United States for new cases of lung cancer (54 per 100,000). (The national average is 56.7 per 100,000.)
- 16th in the United States for early diagnosis at 26.8%. (The national average is 25.8%.)
- Fourth in the United States for surgery with a rate of 26.1%. (Nationwide, 21% of cases were operated on. Massachusetts had the highest score at 31%).
- 32nd in the United States for lack of treatment with a rate of 21.3%. (Nationally, 20.6% of cases received no treatment.)
- 39th in the United States for high-risk people screened, with a rate of 3.7%. (Across the country, 5.8% of high-risk individuals have been screened.)
An American is diagnosed with lung cancer approximately every two and a half minutes.
Although progress has been made, the disease remains the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It kills more than 350 people a day and each year around 237,000 people will be diagnosed, according to the ALA.
Projections seemed to be New Jersey’s weak point.
“Lung cancer screening is essential for early diagnosis, and early diagnosis saves lives. Unfortunately, here in New Jersey, not enough people are getting this life-saving screening,” Michael Seilback, assistant vice president of national public policy at the American Lung Association, said in the statement. “We can all help reduce the burden of lung cancer in New Jersey.
“If you are eligible for lung cancer screening, we encourage you to discuss this with your doctor. If a loved one is eligible, please encourage them to get tested.
Who is eligible for screening?
Anyone between the ages of 50 and 80 who has “20 or more packs of years of smoking” – one pack a day for 20 years; two packs a day for 10 years; are a current smoker or have quit within the past 15 years.
Despite the progress, the American Lung Association said New Jersey “needs to do more to reduce the burden of lung cancer.”
For more information on screening eligibility, visit SavedByTheScan.org.
Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com.
Spencer Kent can be reached at [email protected].