The Working Waterfront

Report shows Maine with high lung cancer rates

American Lung Association calls for more screening

Posted 2023-12-20
Last Modified 2023-12-20

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report reveals that Maine ranks 44 out of 48 in the nation for incidence rate of lung cancer, while also ranking in the top five states for the percentage of people to receive screening, and receive treatment.

This means that Maine has one of the highest numbers of new cases of lung cancer per year, in the nation—but that it’s also more likely for Mainers at high risk to receive screening and to receive treatment post diagnosis.

The American Lung Association’s 6th annual report highlights the toll of lung cancer in Maine and examines key indicators including new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment, and screening rates.

Nationally, the “State of Lung Cancer” report found that lung cancer survival rates are improving for everyone, including people of color. In fact, 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 gap.

“Thankfully, in Maine, the lung cancer survival rate has improved because of increased awareness, improved access to healthcare and cutting-edge research…”
—Lance Boucher

“Thankfully, in Maine, the lung cancer survival rate has improved because of increased awareness, improved access to healthcare and cutting-edge research into new treatments for the disease,” said Lance Boucher, director of advocacy and division assistant vice president at the American Lung Association.

“However, lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths here in Maine and across the nation, and our recent report makes it clear that we have more work to do to reduce incidence rates and the overall burden of lung cancer.”

The report found that Maine ranked:
• 44 in the nation for rate of new lung cancer cases at 69.7 per 100,000. The national rate is 54.6 per 100,000.
• 19 in the nation for survival at 26.2%. The national rate of people alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis is 26.6%.
• 22 in the nation for early diagnosis at 27.1%. Nationally, only 26.6% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the survival rate is much higher.
• 5 in the nation for lung cancer screening at 9.2%. Lung cancer screening with annual low-dose CT scans for those at high risk can reduce the lung cancer death rate by up to 20%. Nationally, only 4.5% of those at high risk were screened.
• 8 in the nation for surgery at 23.7%. 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.
• 5 in the nation for lack of treatment at 16.2%. Nationally, 20.6% of cases receive no treatment.

The 2023 “State of Lung Cancer” report highlights that Maine must do more to reduce the burden of lung cancer and encourages everyone to help end lung cancer. Join the Lung Association’s efforts by asking your member of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 4286, the Increasing Access to Lung Cancer Screening Act at

Get involved and help the mission of the American Lung Association. The Trek Across Maine is an annual cycling event, planned for June 14-16. Learn more at