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California Falls Short In Early Diagnosis Of Lung Cancer

A smoker snuffs out a cigarette at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., June 22...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: A smoker snuffs out a cigarette at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., June 22, 2012.

California needs to up its game in the fight against lung cancer, according to a new report from the American Lung Association.

The report provides a state-by-state look at the toll lung cancer takes in the United States. It shows California has the nation’s fourth-lowest rate of new lung cancer cases. Much of that is attributed to the state’s low smoking rate.

However, the report shows less than one out of five lung cancer cases in California are diagnosed at an early stage.

Vanessa Marvin, vice president of public policy and advocacy for the American Lung Association in California, said the state has just 2.4 certified lung cancer screening centers per million people, well below the national average.

“And we know, too, that they’re not evenly around the state, that there are some areas where there are very few screening centers," she said. "So, this is something that we now have the data for, because of this report, and we’re going to be looking into more, and really seeing if there’s more that we can do to encourage more screening centers in California.”

The report finds California's rate of survival five years after someone is diagnosed with lung cancer is 20.1 percent.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.

California needs to up its game in the fight against lung cancer, according to a new report from the American Lung Association.

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