SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — A new report by the American Lung Association (ALA), ‘State of Lung Cancer,‘ finds that far too few people in Louisiana are getting diagnosed early.

ALA explains when lung cancer is diagnosed early before it has a chance to spread, the likelihood of surviving five years or more improves to 63%.

“Our recent report makes it clear that we have more work to do to increase lung cancer screenings and early detection initiatives, as well as address health disparities in our Black community,” said senior director of advocacy for Louisiana at the ALA, Ashley Lyerly.

Louisiana’s rate of early diagnosis compared to the rest of the nation is 23.8%, ranking the state 43 out of 47.

The report also reveals health disparities, with Black individuals in Louisiana being least likely to receive surgery as part of the first course of treatment. 

Infographic stating, More than 4 in 10 Americans live in places with unhealthy levels of air pollution.

The report found that Louisiana ranks:

  • 38 out of 42 in the nation for survival at 22.1%. The national rate of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 26.6%.
  • 39 out of 47 in the nation for surgery at 16.8%. Lung cancer can often be treated with surgery if it is diagnosed at an early stage and has not spread. Nationally, 20.8% of cases underwent surgery.
  • 38 out of 47 nationwide for lack of treatment at 23.1%. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment.
  • 46 out of 51 in the nation for smoking at 19.5%. Nationally, 13.5% of adults currently smoke.

The author of the National Climate Assessment told NPR, “Climate Change affects us all, but it doesn’t affect us all equally.” Their report highlighted the health costs of climate change.

ALA documented that Shreveport improved enough to leave “the 25 most polluted cities year-round with particle pollution” levels not meeting national air quality standards.

According to ALA, air pollution can harm children and adults in many ways, impacting their breathing, worsening Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (progressive lung disease), and shortness of breath, thus affecting individuals’ hearts, impairing cognitive function and susceptibility to infections.

The report highlights the toll of air pollution on Louisianaians and encourages the public to help end lung cancer by reducing their carbon footprint.