Screening Issues

There has been significant interest in mass screening programs to detect lung cancer at an earlier stage. Use of sputum cytology and chest radiographs have fallen short and proven not to improve survival. Studies conducted in the 1970s at Memorial Sloan Kettering Lung Project and the Johns Hopkins Lung Project did identify more early stage lung cancers amenable to surgery; however, there was no statistically significant difference in mortality between screened and nonscreened groups. CT scanning has emerged as a potential means of identifying early lung cancers. Early studied indicate that it is more sensitive (27/1000 vs 10/1000) than sputum cytology and chest radiographs. There are currently several trails (National Cancer Institute) underway to evaluate CT scanning as a potential screening tool.

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