Patients with lung cancer in Oklahoma are facing a bleak report from the American Lung Association.
Oklahoma is almost last in the nation for lung cancer survival rates. The nationwide five-year survival rate is 21.7%, while here in Oklahoma, the survival rate is 17.7%, according to the American Lung Association.
The physicians at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa say the problem is Oklahoma patients are diagnosed late and sometimes too late to intervene.
Few take advantage of lung cancer screening to catch it early and we have a high number of smokers.
"We don't have enough physicians, especially specialty physicians to care for these, and we have a large number of uninsured patients in our state as well, and those patients will decide on their own they aren't going to seek medical care." said Dr. Daniel Nader, a medical director of interventional pulmonology at CTCA Tulsa.
Dr. Nader says Oklahoman's need better access to medical care and primary care doctors need to be sure they know which patients would benefit from early screening.
“Those of us involved in cancer on a regular basis need to increase our availability to get patients in as quickly as we can so we can see patients at an early stage and that will allow us to have better results with regards to the treatments for lung cancer that we have," Dr. Nader said.
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