How to Prevent a Spike in Lung Cancer Diagnoses

Despite a decline in overall cancer deaths attributed to a decrease in smoking, trends indicate a potential new surge.

There has been a steady decline in cancer deaths over the past couple of decades, driven by a significant decrease in the death rate for lung cancer, which accounts for more deaths than breast, colorectal and prostate cancer combined. This is likely due to progress in three areas: prevention, screening and treatment. Additionally, smoking, which causes  85% of lung cancer diagnoses, has declined over the past 30 years.

While this is positive news, there are warning signs for plan sponsors that there could be a reversal of progress, requiring us to be vigilant and proactive early to prevent such an outcome.

Smoking and lung cancer trends

COVID-19 impacted everything, including smoking trends and the downstream impact on lung cancer diagnoses.

An increase in the use of cigarettes indicates the need for plan sponsors to take action to prevent a worsening of these trends, which could have an impact on member health and plan affordability.

How early interventions get ahead of an increase in lung cancer diagnoses

Plan sponsors need to continue to raise awareness of smoking cessation measures. Ways to do that include:


Percentage of adults Who Reported Tobacco Product Use (%)

If plan sponsors take action now on curbing the use of tobacco products, their members and their plans can benefit from lower costs and better health outcomes. Delaying action runs the risk of missing out on the positive trends that we’d seen prior to the pandemic. There is still time as long as we address these trends early.

See how our solutions can help
Digital Tobacco Use Disorder Care Solution
The Digital Tobacco Use Disorder Care Solution (Quit Genius, preferred vendor under the Digital Health Formulary) is a clinically effective and scientifically proven smoking and vaping cessation program designed for smokers at any stage in their quit journey. This program not only improves the health of members who want to quit smoking, but also delivers tangible cost savings for participating employers.
Evernorth Research Institute
Evernorth Research Institute is a catalyst for change: generating the industry-leading thinking that will redefine health care as we know it. Combining Evernorth’s unmatched data and analytics with the expertise of our partners, we unlock pivotal insights that incite action and guide meaningful progress in health care.