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Lung cancer death rates highest in states with lowest screening rates

“On the leaderboard for lung cancer mortality, Kentucky is number 1, Mississippi, number 2, Arkansas number 3, and Tennessee and West Virginia at number 4 and 5. At number 6 is Alabama, and then you have the Carolinas and Louisiana,” says Raymond U. Osarogiagbon, MD (above), of the Baptist Cancer Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

“If you look at the places where the screening facilities are available, and the places where people who are eligible for screening and have received the screening test, the highest states are in the northeast, where up to 15% to 17% of eligible people have been screened.”

“In the places at the highest levels of lung cancer deaths, screening is consistently less than 5% of eligible people, sometimes as low as 2%. The only exception is Kentucky, the state at number one, where they’re an outlier, with 15% to 16% of the eligible patients screened. There is a geographic disparity regarding access to a life-saving technology that is covered by insurance.”

See “Addressing Disparities in Lung Cancer From a Geographic Perspective” on the Targeted Oncology website (October 26, 2021)

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