American Lung Association ranks Missouri as one of the highest states for rates of lung caner

ST. LOUIS - The American Lung Association says Missouri must do more to combat lung cancer.  Fox 2`s Dan Gray tells us the association is out with its first State of Lung Cancer report.

Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. The New American Lung Association report ranks Missouri as the sixth highest state for lung cancer rates in the U.S. and ranks low for early detection. The association said in Missouri, only 18 percent of lung cancer cases were diagnosed at early stages when it is most likely to be curable.

SluCare pulmonologist Dr. Dave Stoeckel at SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital says the report does not come as a surprise, “unfortunately the majority of patients that we diagnose with lung cancer are found at a time when the lung cancer is very locally advanced or actually spread to distant parts of the body."

The American Lung Association is calling for Missouri to enact a statewide ban on smoking and increase funding for tobacco prevention by hiking the tobacco tax.  Dr. Stoeckel said, "here in St. Louis and in Missouri about one in or about 22 percent of the patients are smokers where nationally we have about 16 percent of patients are smokers so it’s not surprising that our lung cancer rates are also higher."

The report found that Utah has the nation's lowest lung cancer rates while Kentucky has the highest.American Lung Association ranks Missouri as one of the highest states for rates of lung cancer.