EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -— A new report from the American Lung Association shows while lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women, the survival rate has “dramatically increased” over the last 10 years.
The 2019 “State of Lung Cancer” report looks at this trend, why it’s happening and what can still be done to save lives.
The report breaks down data state by state, as researches say the burden of lung cancer is not the same everywhere. This includes treatment, exposure to risk factors, and use of screening.
Nationally, the report shows the five- year survival rate, or the rate of people still alive five years after being diagnosed, is 21.7 percent, which researchers say is up from 17.2 percent a decade ago.
Not every patient receives treatment after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Authors of the report say this can happen for multiple reasons, such as the tumor having spread too far, poor health, or refusal of treatment. The percent of patients who receive no treatment is 15.4 percent nationally.
The report shows screening rates vary tremendously between states, and rates for those at high risk were 4.2 percent nationally.
The American Lung Association analyzed lung cancer screening coverage policies in state Medicaid fee-for-service programs to assess the current status of lung cancer screening coverage for the Medicaid population. It found 4.8 percent of those at high risk had been screened in states where fee-for-service Medicaid plans covered screening, compared to 2.6 percent in states that did not cover screening.
- Incidence Rate: Below Average Tier
- Five-Year Survival Rate: Above Average Tier
- Early Diagnosis Rate: Above Average Tier
- Surgical Treatment Rate: Top Tier
- Lack of Treatment Rate: Above Average Tier
- Screening Rate: Average Tier
- Fee-For-Service Medicaid Coverage of Screening: No
The report shows Rhode Island’s five-year survival rate is 23.7 percent, which is significantly higher than the national rate of 21.7 percent. This ranks Rhode Island 9th among the 45 states with survival data.
The report also found the incidence rate for new cases is higher than average, with 71 new cases for every 100,000 people.
Data shows Rhode Island ranks 7th among the 48 states with data on diagnosis at an early stage, with 23.4 percent of cases are caught at an early stage.
Rhode Island ranked 2nd out of the 48 states with available data, according to the report. Data shows 27.6 percent of cases undergoing surgery as part of the first course of treatment.
In all, 46 states had data for lung cancer patients who did not receive treatment. The report shows Rhode Island ranked 7th with 11.6 percent of cases receiving no treatment.
Rhode Island was one of the 12 states where Medicaid fee-for-service programs did not cover lung cancer screening as of January 2019, according to the report.
- Incidence Rate: Average Tier
- Five-Year Survival Rate: N/A
- Early Diagnosis Rate: Top Tier
- Surgical Treatment Rate: Top Tier
- Lack of Treatment Rate: N/A
- Screening Rate: Top Tier
- Fee-For-Service Medicaid Coverage of Screening: Yes, without prior authorization, but did not use recommended guidelines for determining eligibility
According to the report, Massachusetts is one of several states that does not track survival data after diagnosis.
The report found the rate of new lung cancer cases is 62 per 100,000 in Massachusetts, compared to the national rate of 59.6. It puts the Bay State 28th among all states.
When it comes to early diagnosis, data from Massachusetts stands out. The report found almost 27 percent of cases are caught at an early stage, ranking the Bay State second among 48 states with data on this.
Data also shows Massachusetts ranks first for cases undergoing surgery as part of the first course of treatment, with 30.5 percent of cases undergoing surgery as part of the first course of treatment. This is out of the 48 states with data on this.
Massachusetts did not have data available for patients who receive no treatment.
The report shows Massachusetts also ranked first for screening in all states, with 12.3 percent of those at high risk screened.
Researchers found Massachusetts was one of the 31 states where Medicaid fee-for-service programs covered lung cancer screening as of January 2019. While the state’s program did not require prior authorization, it did not use standard guidelines for determining eligibility, according to authors of the report.