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ND tops the nation in lung cancer treatment

Nov 17, 2020
Courtesy Tobacco Free ND

A report from the American Lung Association says more people in North Dakota receive lung cancer treatment than anywhere else in the country.

And the report says while the survival rate in North Dakota is now 22.8%, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths. But it also says more indigenous people are being diagnosed with lung cancer.

It also says North Dakota is among the top for lung cancer screening and early diagnosis.

ND Attorney General's office

A windfall – of sorts – for North Dakota.

The state is getting another $34 million from the tobacco settlement.

"A part of the terms for that settlement was that we would also diligently enforce the requirement that companies that didn't join the tobacco settlement would pay money into an escrow account," said North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. "That was to level the playing field, competitively."

North Dakota is in the top 25 percent of states in both new lung cancer cases and lung cancer survival rates.

This according to the first ever "State of Lung Cancer" report done by the American Lung Association of North Dakota. Reba Mathern-Jacobson is director of tobacco control for the Lung Association in North Dakota. She says this report looks at rates of incidents of lung cancer, survival rates, rates of early diagnosis, surgery, and access to screening centers. She says the report helps North Dakota know where it stands.

A proposal in former Gov. Jack Dalrymple's executive budget would eliminate the North Dakota Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy agency -- also known as "Breathe ND."

It would move the functions into the state Health Department.

"To totally eliminate an agency that has seen such incredible results in almost cutting youth smoking in half took us by surprise," said agency director Jeanne Prom.

The agency was created in 2008 after North Dakota voters passed an initiated measure. It is funded by the master tobacco lawsuit settlement.