Washingtonians survive lung cancer at a high rate

The 2022 “State of Lung Cancer” report from the American Lung Association reveals that Washington ranks eighth in the nation for five-year lung cancer survival rates.

At 28.2 percent, Washington is above the national average of 25 percent percent.

The Lung Association’s report, released Nov. 15, also highlights that people of color who are diagnosed with lung cancer face worse outcomes compared to white Americans, including lower survival rate, less likely to be diagnosed early, less likely to receive surgical treatment and more likely to receive no treatment. In Washington, indigenous people are the most likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer.

“Lung cancer screening is key to early diagnosis, and early diagnosis saves lives. Unfortunately, here in Washington, not enough people are getting this screening,” said Carrie Nyssen, senior director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Washington. “We all can help reduce the burden of lung cancer. If youre eligible for lung cancer screening, we encourage you to speak with your doctor about it. If a loved one is eligible, please encourage them to get screened.”

Nationally, 14 million Americans meet the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines for screening. Under these guidelines, a person is eligible for lung cancer screening if they are between 50 and 80 years old, have a 20-year history of smoking (defined as one pack a day for 20 years, or two packs per day for 10 years), and are a current smoker or have quit within the last 15 years. More information is available at savedbythescan.org.

In the percentage of people who are screened for lung cancer, Washingtonians rank 27th in the U.S. at about 6 percent. The number of lung cancer surgeries in Washington is the 19th highest nationally.