Report: Indiana ranks among the worst states for lung cancer


FILE – In this Sept. 17, 2015 file photo, a smoker holds his cigarette outside Oklahoma County Courthouse in Oklahoma City. A federal health panel wants to widen the number of Americans who get yearly scans for lung cancer, by opening the screening to less-heavy smokers. Lung cancer is the nation’s top cancer killer, causing more than 135,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Smoking is the chief cause and quitting is the best protection. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

INDIANAPOLIS – A new report shows Indiana is ranked among the worst in the country when it comes to lung cancer.

The report comes from the American Lung Association’s “State of Lung Cancer” report, examining the toll of lung cancer throughout the nation. The report found that Indiana continues to have some of the highest lung cancer rates in the country.

The report also found that more Americans are surviving the disease, as the nationwide five-year lung cancer survival rate of 22.6% reflects a 13% improvement over the past five years.

“While we celebrate that more Americans are surviving lung cancer, too many people are being left behind, and the disease still remains the leading cause of cancer deaths,” Nick Torres, the advocacy director for American Lung Association Indiana, said. “Much more can and must be done in Indiana to prevent the disease and support those facing it. Indiana has the lowest cigarette tax in the region, and some of the cheapest tobacco products in the country. 

The association urges policymakers to raise the tax since smoking tends to be the leading cause of lung cancer. The 2020 report also looks at health disparities.

The report shows that we’re not seeing higher rates among Black and Latino communities, but we don’t know the survivability for those groups after they’ve had lung cancer. Indiana is one of only a few states that doesn’t track the information.

“We don’t have that data right now in Indiana to be able to say certain communities– even if we’re not seeing the disparities in different incidents, we want to make sure that everybody is receiving quality care and is surviving this disease if they are diagnosed with it,” Torres said.

The American Lung Association wants to make sure people aren’t putting off getting their lungs screened during the coronavirus. To learn how to get one, visit

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