Lung Cancer in Pennsylvania: Report Shows Pennsylvanians Not Getting Enough Screenings

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PENNSYLVANIA — The American Lung Association’s 2022 “State of Lung Cancer” report shows that only 8.8% of Pennsylvania residents who are eligible have been screened for lung cancer and while this is above the national average, there is still much lifesaving work to be done. The American Lung Association’s 5th annual report, released today, highlights the toll of lung cancer in Pennsylvania 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 in lung cancer survival. The lung cancer five-year survival rate is now 25% and increased 21% from 2014 to 2018. Here in Pennsylvania, the lung cancer survival rate is above the national average at 26.8% and above average for treatment at 17.5%.

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 Pennsylvania, Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders are least likely to be diagnosed early—17% less likely than white Americans at 21.9% compared to 26.5%.

Also revealed in the report is that radon, a radioactive gas and second leading cause of lung cancer, is detected at high levels in about 2 of 5 Pennsylvania homes (39.1%). Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can have a big impact on indoor air quality and lung health. (To learn more about radon and the importance of testing, visit


“Lung cancer screening is key to early diagnosis, and early diagnosis saves lives. Unfortunately, here in Pennsylvania, not enough people are getting this lifesaving screening. We all can help reduce the burden of lung cancer in Pennsylvania. If you are 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,” said Deborah Brown, Chief Mission Officer, at the American Lung Association. “It’s also important to learn more about radon, how it affects your health and what you can do about it.” added Brown.

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. Find out if you are eligible for lung cancer screening at


The report found that Pennsylvania ranked:

  • 33 in the nation for rate of new lung cancer cases at 62 per 100,000 people. This is a 10% improvement over last five years. The national rate is 56.7 per 100,000.
  • 12 in the nation for survival at 26.8%, marking a 22% improvement over last five years. The national rate of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 25%.
  • 20 in the nation for early diagnosis at 26.4, %, marking a 14% improvement over last five years. Nationally, only 25.8% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher.
  • 12 in the nation for lung cancer screening at 8.8%. 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.
  • 11 in the nation for surgery at 22.4%. 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.
  • 15 in the nation for lack of treatment at 17.5%, and a 21% improvement over past five years. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment.
  • 39 in the nation for radon test results that were at or above the action level recommended by EPA at 39.1%, placing the state in the below-average tier.

“State of Lung Cancer” highlights that Pennsylvania must do more to reduce the burden of lung cancer and encourages everyone to join the effort to end lung cancer. Learn more about the report at

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