Regional trends in diagnosis of advanced lung cancer in Michigan over 33 years

Hollis E. Hutchings, Sue C. Grady, Qiong Zhang, Erik Schwarze, Andrew Popoff, Kamil Khanipov, Ikenna C. Okereke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Lung cancer is the most common cancer killer worldwide. Nearly 80 percent of lung cancers are diagnosed at advanced stages. Lack of access to medical care and undwerutilized lung cancer screening are key reasons for advanced diagnoses. We sought to understand the regional differences in presentation of lung cancer across Michigan. Utilizing a comprehensive cancer registry over 33 years, our goal was to examine associations between sociodemographic patient factors and diagnoses at advanced stages. Methods: The Michigan Cancer Registry was queried from 1985 to 2018 to include all new diagnoses of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) using International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O) version 3 codes. NSCLC was categorized as early, regional and distant disease. Advanced disease was considered to be any disease that was regional or distant. NSCLC rates were calculated and mapped at the zip code level using the 2010 population as the denominator and spatial empirical Bayes methodology. Regional hospital service areas were constructed using travel time to treatment from the patient's zip code centroid. Logistic regression models were estimated to investigate the significance of rural vs. urban and travel time on level of disease at presentation. Kaplan-Meier and multivariate survival analysis was performed to evaluate the association between distance from the nearest medical center and length of survival controlling for known risk factors for lung cancer. Results: From 1985 to 2018, there were 141,977 patients in Michigan diagnosed with NSCLC. In 1985, men were 2.2 times more likely than women to be diagnosed but by 2018 women and men developed disease at equal rates. Mean age was 67.8 years. Among all patients with known stage of disease, 72.5% of patients were diagnosed with advanced disease. Regional and distant NSCLC rates were both higher in the northern parts of the state. Longer drive times in rural regions also significantly increased the likelihood of advanced NSCLC diagnoses, in particular regional lung cancer. Patients with longer drive times also experienced overall worse survival after controlling for other factors. Conclusions: Regional disparities exist in Michigan for diagnoses of NSCLC at advanced stages. Factors such as lack of screening in urban regions and distances to treating institutions in rural areas likely contribute to the increased likelihood of advanced NSCLC. Future interventions should target the specific needs of residents to detect disease at earlier stages and improve overall outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2936-2947
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 31 2024


  • Lung cancer
  • diagnosis
  • epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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