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New Mexico Ranks Near Bottom In Lung Cancer Prevention

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According to a report by the American Lung Association, New Mexico ranks near the bottom across the country for treatment and detection of Lung Cancer.

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer Report” released on Tuesday examines the toll lung cancer is having on New Mexicans, examining key indicators including new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment and screening rates.

The report found the state ranks last for treatment with surgery which is often used in the early stages of cancer before it can spread and near the bottom for early detection.

It also says that Native Americans are those most likely not to receive any treatment.

JoAnna Strother is the Senior Director of Advocacy for the New Mexico Chapter of the Lung Association.

She says the key for survival is early detection and New Mexicans have many opportunities for free screenings.

“We’ve been hosting free lung cancer screening events all throughout the year. Our next one is on December 2nd,” she said. “This is a great way for people who might be at high risk togo get a free lung cancer screening test, so regardless of insurance they will provide that for people and it’s really important depending on their history, of they are a current or former smoker, as we know smokers are more at high risk for lung cancer, but really anybody can get lung cancer.”

The December free screening will take place at the New Mexico Cancer Center in Albuquerque.                           

Nationally, the “State of Lung Cancer'' report found that lung cancer survival rates are improving for everyone, including people of color. The five-year lung cancer survival rate for people of color has increased by 17% in the last two years, helping close the health disparity.