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Kentucky has highest rate of new lung cancer cases in the nation, new report says

The American Lung Association's "State of Lung Cancer" report also said Kentucky had one of the lowest 5-year survival rates.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — According to the American Lung Association, Kentucky has the highest lung cancer incidence rates in the country.

The ALA released its second annual “State of Lung Cancer” report on Wednesday. The report looks at several factors relating to lung cancer including incidence rates, smoking prevalence, and 5-year survival rates.

This year’s report found that Kentucky had the highest lung cancer incidence rate out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. “Incidence” refers to the number of new cases of lung cancer in each state. Kentucky’s lung cancer incidence rate was 92.6 out of 100,000 people. The national rate is 59.6.

Kentucky also had one of the lowest 5-year survival rates with 17.6%. According to the ALA, part of the reason lung cancer is so deadly is because most cases are diagnosed at a later stage after the disease has spread. Nationally, only 21.5% of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage.

However, the results of the report were not all bad for the Bluegrass State. Kentucky ranked in the top tier for both screening and prevention and access to treatment.

“This simple test – lung cancer screening – is a powerful tool to save lives,” said Shannon Baker, director of advocacy for the Lung Association. “Fortunately, Kentucky ranks fourth-best in the nation for lung cancer screening at a rate of 10.3%.”

Indiana ranked below average for lung cancer incidence and surgical treatment rates, and ranked average for early diagnosis, access to treatment, and screening rate.

A primary reason for the “State of Lung Cancer” report is to explore how states can act to save more lives from lung cancer. It helps to identify where each state can best focus its resources to decrease the toll of the disease. You can learn more and read the full report on the American Lung Association website.

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