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Critically Low Lung Cancer Screening Rates in Florida Reveal Opportunity to Save More Lives

The 2022 “State of Lung Cancer” report reveals that Florida ranks 44th in the nation for lung cancer cases receiving no treatment. The American Lung Association’s 5th annual report, released today, highlights the toll of lung cancer in Florida and examines key indicators including new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment and screening rates.

Nationally, the “State of Lung Cancer” report shows continued progress for lung cancer survival. The lung cancer five-year survival rate is now 25% and increased 21% from 2014 to 2018. Here in Florida, the lung cancer survival rate is above the national average at 26.5%. The report 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 Florida, black Americans are least likely to receive surgical treatment.

“Lung cancer screening is key to early diagnosis, and early diagnosis saves lives. Unfortunately, here in Florida, not enough people are getting this lifesaving screening,” said Dr. Mark J. Hauser, Chair of the South Florida Local Leadership Board for the American Lung Association, Pulmonologist and President of Medical Staff Affairs for Baptist Health. “We all can help reduce the burden of lung cancer in Florida. If you are eligible for a lung cancer screening, we encourage you to speak with your doctor and learn more. If a loved one is eligible, please encourage them to get screened.”

Here in South Florida, Baptist Health South Florida and the American Lung Association announced they will extend their partnership to raise awareness for lung cancer screenings through the successful “Saved by the Scan” campaign. In just one year, this campaign has made a lifesaving impact at Baptist Health with a 62% increase year-over-year of lung cancer screenings and a 29% increase over pre-COVID numbers. For more information about the campaign, visit BaptistHealth.net/LungScreening and find out if you are eligible for lung cancer screening at SavedByTheScan.org.

Currently, 14.2 million Americans meet the US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines for screening. Under these guidelines, a person is eligible for lung cancer screening if they are between 50-80 years of age, have a 20 pack-year history (1 pack/day for 20 years, 2 packs/day for 10 years) and are a current smoker, or have quit within the last 15 years.

The report found that Florida ranked:

  • 22nd in the nation for rate of new lung cancer cases at 56.5 per 100,000. The national rate is 56.7 per 100,000.
  • 14th in the nation for survival at 26.5%. The national rate of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 25%.
  • 37th in the nation for early diagnosis at 24.6%. Nationally, only 25.8% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher.
  • 40th in the nation for lung cancer screening at 3.4%. Lung cancer screening with annual low-dose CT scans for those at high risk can reduce the lung cancer death rate by up to 20%. Nationally, only 5.8% of those at high risk were screened.
  • 20th in the nation for surgery at 20.7%. Lung cancer can often be treated with surgery if it is diagnosed at an early stage and has not spread. Nationally, 20.8% of cases underwent surgery.
  • 44th in the nation for lack of treatment at 25.1%. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment.

Another noteworthy rating identified for Florida is the radon action level. 12.1% of homes in Florida are above the recommended action level by the EPA for radon. And while this is above average, more work should be done. The only way to know one’s radon level is to test.  The Lung Association recommends homes, schools, and workplaces be tested. High levels, if confirmed, should be reduced. Learn more by visiting Lung.org/radon.

“State of Lung Cancer” highlights that Florida must do more to reduce the burden of lung cancer and encourages everyone to join the effort. Learn more about the report, email President Biden to thank him for his leadership on the Cancer Moonshot Initiative and urge him to increase lung cancer screening for individuals at high risk at Lung.org/solc.

“There is tremendous potential to make transformative changes to cancer care in the next decade or two. Thanks to national efforts such as the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, we continue to work together towards greater cancer screenings to find cancers in early stages so that we can cure them,” shared Manmeet Ahluwalia, M.D., chief of medical oncology, chief scientific officer, and deputy director of Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida and Fernandez Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Cancer Research.


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