In the United States, just over 15% of patients with lung cancer receive no treatment, according to the American Lung Association.
“This can happen for multiple reasons, such as the tumor having spread too far, poor health, or refusal of treatment,” the ALA said in its 2019 State of Lung Cancer report.
On the state level, the disparities were considerable. Arizona had the highest rate of nontreatment at 30.4%, followed by the neighboring states of New Mexico (24.2%) and California (24.0%). The lowest rate in the country, 8.0%, came from North Dakota, with Missouri next at 9.4% and Maine third at 9.6%, based on data from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries’ December 2018 data submission, which covered the years from 2012 to 2016.
Although some cases of lung cancer may be unavoidable, “no one should go untreated because of lack of provider or patient knowledge, stigma associated with lung cancer, fatalism after diagnosis, or cost of treatment. Dismantling these and other barriers is important to reducing the percent of untreated patients,” the ALA said.