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CT supervisor Susan Donoghue moves Marine Corps veteran Kathy Plourde into the scanner during screening for lung cancer at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. A report shows that South Carolina has one of the lowest lung cancer survival rates in the country. File/Staff

The American Lung Association's 2019 State of Lung Cancer report found that South Carolina has one of the lowest lung cancer survival rates in the country.

According to the association, lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer of men and women in the U.S. They recently discovered that the national survival rate climbed from 17.2 percent to a little over 21 percent.  

In South Carolina, the rate is 19.5 percent and out of 45 state survival rates, South Carolina is ranked 32. 

"Much more can and must be done in South Carolina to prevent the disease and support families facing the disease,” said June Deen,  director of advocacy for the American Lung Association.

One of the reasons why lung cancer has been found to be so deadly is because patients are often diagnosed at later stages. The associations said that one of the best ways to detect the cancer earlier is through a lung cancer screening. 

The screening is recommended for high-risk patients who are between the ages of 55 and 80, have smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or 2 packs for 15 years, and are a current smoker or have quit in the last 15 years. 

A little over 4.2 percent of South Carolina residents who meet the recommendation requirements have received the lung cancer screening.

"We’re pushing for greater awareness of this test to save more lives here in South Carolina," Deen said.

South Carolina is ranked 19th as far as the percentage of people diagnosed with lung cancer who have not received treatment. Additionally, around 19 percent of lung cancer cases in the state were detected early and treated with surgery. 

“While we celebrate that more Americans than ever are surviving lung cancer, the disease remains the leading cause of cancer deaths," Deen said. 

Reach Jerrel Floyd at 843-937-5558. Follow him on Twitter @jfloyd134.