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Report: Lung cancer rates dropping because of better access, screening, treatment

A new report offers hope on the lung cancer front: Overall cancer rates are being driven down because patients are being diagnosed at an earlier stage in their disease and living longer due to better access to care, higher screening rates and improved treatments (Source: “Progress on Lung Cancer Drives Overall Decline in U.S. Cancer Deaths,” HealthDay News, Jan. 12).

Still, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in the country, according to the annual Cancer Statistics report conducted by the American Cancer Society and released Wednesday.

In 2018, 28% of lung cancers were detected at a localized stage, compared with 17% in 2004. Nearly one-third (31%) of lung patients now survive three years past diagnosis, compared to 21% a decade ago.

But lung cancer still causes 350 deaths a day -- more than breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers combined -- and is responsible for the most cancer deaths by far, according to the report.