North Dakota Ranked # 1 in the Nation for People Receiving Treatment After Diagnosed with Lung Cancer

The American Lung Association compared data between states from 2014 to 2018 for markers such as lung cancer screening, surgical treatment, and no treatment. The report found that North Dakota had the lowest “missed treatment” rate, referring to the number of people who forgo cancer treatment after their diagnosis.

According to the American Lung Association’s 2021 State of Lung Cancer Report, people may not receive medical interventions after a diagnosis of lung cancer for a variety of reasons, such as cost of treatment or lack of knowledge. patient or provider.

“We always want to remember that these are people (…) and that there are reasons why these disparities are happening,” said Pat McKone, senior director of public policy and advocacy for American Lung. Association.

McKone said North Dakota likely ranked No. 1 nationally for the number of people receiving treatment for lung cancer once diagnosed due to access to health care.

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The report also found that North Dakota ranked fifth in the country for cancer screening. The American Lung Association says screenings can reduce the death rate of lung cancer patients by up to 20% by detecting tumors at an early stage. The native population of North Dakota has higher rates of lung cancer than the state’s non-native population, according to the report.

In 2018, the latest year for which data is available, North Dakota reported 516 cases of lung and bronchial cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost 220,000 new cases were reported nationwide in 2018.

Smoking is the main risk factor for lung cancer and causes 80 to 90% of all lung cancer cases, according to the American Lung Association. Second-hand smoke, radon exposure and pollution are also major contributors to lung cancer.

McKone said North Dakota can do more to prevent lung cancer, and that an important way to do that would be to increase the tax on cigarettes. She said other state legislatures have implemented higher taxes and seen a “significant decrease” in the number of smokers.

“At any point in time, a person is desperate to quit smoking and (the tax increases) give them one more reason and could be a tipping point,” McKone said. “It’s the best thing North Dakota can do.”

Readers can contact Forum reporter Michelle Griffith, a member of the Report for America body, at [email protected]

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