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Early Lung Cancer Screening Program Dramatically Increases Survival Rates

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Recent studies highlight the importance of regular CT screening for improving survival outcomes in lung cancer.

Despite advances in targeted therapy and immunotherapy, results from 20 years of international research show that the best tool to combat cancer deaths is early diagnosis with low-dose CT screening, before symptoms appear.

According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the leading cause of death, with an average five-year survival rate for lung cancer of 18.6%. Additionally, only 16% of lung cancers are diagnosed early, and more than half of lung cancer patients die within a year of their diagnosis.

“Although screening does not prevent cancer from occurring, it is an important tool in identifying early-stage lung cancers that can be surgically removed,” said the study’s first author, Claudia Henschke, Ph.D., MD, Radiology. Academic Professor and Director said.Early Pulmonary and Cardiac Activity Program at the Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, New York. in a statement.

The results of a 20-year international study of early lung cancer screening will be presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. Henschke et al. He created the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (IELCAP) in 1992. This is a multicenter, multinational research program that enrolls over 87,000 participants from over 80 institutions and provides low-dose CT screening for lung cancer annually.

“Symptoms occur primarily in late-stage lung cancer,” said Henschke. “So the best way to detect early-stage lung cancer is to enroll in an annual screening program.”

In 2006, researchers published 10-year findings, including an 80% survival rate for lung cancer identified by CT screening.

New findings show that 1285 IELCAP participants diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer had a 20-year survival rate of 80%. Furthermore, patients with non-solid carcinoma pulmonary nodules (n = 139) and patients with partial solid nodules (n = 155) had a survival rate of 100%, whereas those with solid nodules (n = 991) had a survival rate of 73%. % was.

“What we present here is a 20-year follow-up study of screening program participants who were diagnosed with lung cancer and subsequently treated,” Henschke said. “The important finding is that even after this long time interval, they did not die of lung cancer.”

The investigators also estimated the survival rate for clinical stage IA lung cancer and the survival rate for resected pathological stage IA lung cancer ≤10 mm, showing that clinical stage IA lung cancer was significantly more likely to survive regardless of nodule consistency. found a survival rate of 86% among the participants. His 20-year survival rate for participants with pathological stage IA lung cancer ≤10 mm in diameter was his 92%.

The results of this study show that after 20 years, patients diagnosed with lung cancer by CT screening have significantly better outcomes, highlighting the importance of regular and early screening. By identifying cancer when it is small enough to be resected, patients can be cured effectively in the long term.

“Ultimately, people interested in getting screened should know that if they’re unlucky enough to develop lung cancer, it can be cured if it’s caught early,” Henschke said. says.


Henschke C, Yankelevitz DF, Libby DM, Smith J, Pasmantier M, Yip R. Twenty-year lung cancer survival in the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (IELCAP). Place of presentation: Radiological Society of North America. 27 November – 1 December 2022. Chicago, Illinois. Accessed November 22, 2022. https://press.rsna.org/timssnet/media/pressreleases/PDF/pressreleasePDF.cfm?ID=2380

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