SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- The survival rate of lung cancer patients in the United States has improved significantly over the past decade, said a new report released on Wednesday.
In its second annual report, the American Lung Association (ALA) said the national five-year lung cancer survival rate was 21.7 percent, a dramatic 26 percent improvement compared with ten years ago, when the figure was 17.2 percent.
"While we celebrate that more Americans than ever are surviving lung cancer, it remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women in the U.S.," said Carrie Nyssen, senior director of advocacy for the ALA in Washington.
Lung cancer is deadly partly because most lung cancer cases are diagnosed at a later stage when the disease has spread, according to the ALA.
Although lung cancer screening is the key to early detection when the disease is most curable, said the association, only 21.5 percent of lung cancer cases nationally are diagnosed at an early stage.
"Screening for lung cancer with annual low-dose CT scans among those who qualify can reduce the lung cancer death rate by up to 20 percent," Nyssen said.
The ALA said the 2019 lung cancer report serves as "both a guidepost and rallying call" that offers policymakers, researchers, healthcare practitioners and patients opportunities to focus their resources to address the disease and cut the death rate of lung cancer.