Arkansas ranks one of worst in nation for new lung cancer cases, study shows

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FILE – This March 28, 2019 photo shows cigarette butts in an ashtray in New York. On Tuesday, March 9, 2021. Lung cancer is the nation’s top cancer killer, causing more than 135,000 deaths each year. Smoking is the chief cause and quitting the best protection. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The American Lung Association released its annual state of lung cancer report, which revealed that Arkansas ranks as one of the worst states in the nation for new cases of the disease.

According to data from the 2021 report, the rate of new lung cancer cases in Arkansas is 76.9 per 100,000, which is significantly higher than the national rate of 57.7 per 100,000. This places the state in the bottom tier, with a ranking of 49th in the country.

The report also revealed that across the nation, the five-year survival rate of lung cancer patients increased by 14.5% to 23.7%. In Arkansas, however, the five-year survival rate is only 20.9%, which researchers said was “significantly lower than the national rate.”

American Lung Association officials stated the report showed the survival rate after five years in communities of color remains at a low of 20% and 18% for Black Americans, noting that in Arkansas, that group is the least likely to get surgical treatment for the disease.

The director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Arkansas, Shannon Baker, expressed that it is critical for the state to provide prevention and support programs for Arkansans.

“With Arkansas among the very worst in the nation for new lung cancer cases, it’s clear that much more can and must be done in Arkansas to prevent the disease and support those facing the disease, like closing loopholes in smoke free laws and reducing tobacco use through proven prevention and quit smoking programs,” Baker said.

Even though the report’s findings show that progress is still needed, the country is working towards creating preventive measures. Officials said the United States Preventive Services Task Force expanded its recommendation for screening to include a larger age range and more current or former smokers.

To view the American Lung Association state of lung cancer full report for Arkansas, visit www.lung.org.

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