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Lung Cancer Rates Dropping but Hospitalization Rates Remain Constant

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: November 12, 2008

Hospital admissions for lung cancer remained relatively stable at roughly 150,000 a year between 1995 and 2006 despite a steady decline in the number of Americans diagnosed with the disease, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Admissions have remained constant, in part, because lung cancer patients are surviving longer and undergoing more hospital-related treatments such as chemotherapy and tumor-removal surgery, according to AHRQ experts. Smoking is considered a main cause of lung cancer—the most deadly type of cancer—but the disease can also result from exposure to hazardous substances such as asbestos, radon, pollution or second-hand smoke, as well as genetic predisposition to the disease.

AHRQ's analysis also found that:

  • The average hospital cost for a lung cancer patient in 2006 was $14,200 (about $1,900 a day). The total cost for all patients was about $2.1 billion.
  • The death rate of hospitalized lung cancer patients was 13 percent—5 times higher than the average overall death rate (2.6 percent) for hospitalized patients.
  • Only 2.4 percent of hospitalized lung cancer patients in 2006 were younger than 44. About 63 percent were 65 or older.
  • Hospitalizations for lung cancer were far more common in the South (89 admissions per 100,000 persons) than in the Northeast (25 admissions per 100,000 persons).

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data from Hospital Stays for Lung Cancer, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief # 63).

The report uses statistics from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured. For information from the U.S. Public Health Service on tobacco cessation, go to http://www.ahrq.gov/path/tobacco.htm

For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, contact Bob Isquith at Bob.Isquith@ahrq.hhs.gov, (301) 427-1539.

Current as of November 2008


 

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