New Report Reveals Oklahoma Has One of the Lowest Lung Cancer Survival Rates in the Nation

Tuesday, 12 November 2019 11:04

New Report Reveals Oklahoma Has One of the Lowest Lung Cancer Survival Rates in the Nation Featured

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Second annual report from American Lung Association explores how states can act to save more lives, support patients and families facing lung cancer.


OKLAHOMA CITY — (November 13, 2019) — Today, the American Lung Association released the annual “State of Lung Cancer” Report, which reveals that Oklahoma is almost last in lung cancer survival rates in the nation. Oklahoma’s incidence, early diagnosis and lung cancer screening rates also all rank lower than the national average.


The annual “State of Lung Cancer” report examines the toll of lung cancer throughout the nation, and outlines steps every state can take to better protect its residents from lung cancer. This year’s “State of Lung Cancer” seeks to continue the positive trend of increased lung cancer survival, as the nationwide five-year lung cancer survival rate of 21.7%, up from 17.2% a decade ago, reflects a 26% improvement over the past 10 years. Here in Oklahoma, the survival rate is 17.7%, which is one of the lowest lung cancer survival rates in the nation.


“While we celebrate that more Americans than ever are surviving lung cancer, the disease remains the leading cause of cancer deaths, and much more can and must be done in Oklahoma to prevent the disease and support families facing the disease,” said JoAnna Strother, director of advocacy for the Lung Association.


Part of the reason that lung cancer is so deadly is because most lung cancer cases are diagnosed at a later stage, after the disease has spread. Lung cancer screening is the key to early detection, when the disease is most curable, but only 21.5% of lung cancer cases nationally are diagnosed at an early stage. While this screening test has been available since 2015, only 1.4% of those eligible in Oklahoma have been screened, which is one of the lowest rates in the nation.


“This simple test - lung cancer screening - is a powerful tool to save lives,” said Strother. “Yet we’re only seeing a fraction of those who qualify actually getting screened. We’re pushing for greater awareness of this test to save more lives here in Oklahoma.”


The "State of Lung Cancer" report finds that the burden of lung cancer varies by state. By better understanding the impact of lung cancer across the nation, efforts and policies can be focused where the needs are greatest. Below are the key findings for Oklahoma:

• Incidence: Incidence refers to the number of new cases of lung cancer in each state. On average, the higher prevalence of smoking, the more lung cancer cases in a state. The national lung cancer incidence rate is 59.6. Oklahoma ranks 41st in lung cancer incidence rate in the nation (below average), at a rate of 69.5 people out of 100,000 people.


• Survival: Lung cancer has one of the lowest five-year survival rates because cases are often diagnosed at later stages when it is less likely to be curable. Oklahoma ranks 40th in the nation for survival rates at 17.7% (almost last).


• Early Diagnosis: Nationally, only 21.5% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher. Unfortunately, about 48.5% of cases are not caught until a late stage when the survival rate is only 6%. Oklahoma ranks 46th in the nation (almost last) at 18.4%.


• Surgical Treatment: Lung cancer can often be treated with surgery if it is diagnosed at an early stage and has not spread widely. Nationally, 20.6 % of cases underwent surgery. Oklahoma ranks 47th in the nation (almost last) at 14.9%.


• Lack of Treatment: There are multiple reasons why patients may not receive treatment. Some of these reasons may be unavoidable, but no one should go untreated because of lack of provider or patient knowledge, stigma associated with lung cancer, fatalism after diagnosis, or cost of treatment. Nationally, about 15.4% of cases receive no treatment. Oklahoma ranks 35th in the nation (average) at 18.3%.


• Screening and Prevention: Screening for lung cancer with annual low-dose CT scans among those who qualify can reduce the lung cancer death rate by up to 20%. Nationally, only 4.2% of those who qualify were screened. Oklahoma ranked 48th in the nation (almost last) with 1.4%.


Learn more about "State of Lung Cancer" at For media interested in speaking with a medical expert about the "State of Lung Cancer" 2019 report or lung cancer survivor about their experience, contact James Martinez at the American Lung Association at or 312-445-2501.

Background on the Report

The American Lung Association’s “State of Lung Cancer” 2019 is the second report we have released on key lung cancer statistics for each state. The 2019 report uses data from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and American College of Radiology (ACR), among other sources. Analysis of this data is conducted by the American Lung Association Epidemiology and Statistics team.


About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

Last modified on Tuesday, 12 November 2019 23:11
David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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