Report: New Mexico lags behind in lung cancer treatment
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A new report from the American Lung Association shows New Mexico ranks low in terms of early diagnosis and screening for lung cancer.
The rate of new lung cancer cases is 34 per 100,000 people. That is second-lowest among all states. That sit below the national average of 55.6 and the rate has improved 31% in the last five years.
Still, our state ranks 47th of 47 measured for percentage of treatment receiving treatment. The report shows 31.5% of cases not receiving any treatment. Indigenous people, especially, are most likely to receive no treatment.
Tobacco use, of course, is the leading risk factor for lung cancer. The smoking rate in New Mexico is 13.3%. The national rate is 13.5%
“We know that current and former smokers have a higher risk of getting lung cancer but also anyone exposed to secondhand smoke. Air pollution can also cause lung cancer,” said JoAnna Strother, the senior director of advocacy for the American Lung Association.
Just like other types of cancer, screening and early detection are most important. According to the American Lung Association, those at high risk for lung cancer can reduce death by up to 20% just through annual screening.
“When it comes to lung cancer screening, New Mexico is really low. Only 1.9% of New Mexicans have been screened for lung cancer. The national average is only 4.9 percent so it’s low,” Strother said.
ALA officials encourage people to talk to their doctor. They say to ask about possible risks and screening for lung cancer.
To see the full report the ALA issued, click here.