Cure Rate Improves With Early Detection
One of the challenges of treating lung cancer has been due to the advancement and, often, spread of the cancer cells by the time it is detected. While survival rates of other forms of cancer have improved, the survival rates for lung cancer have not. In fact, more people die from lung cancer each year than that of breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. Because symptoms of lung cancer don't usually appear until the more advanced stages, diagnosis occurs too late for the cancer to be cured.
Results of a study conducted by the International Early Lung Cancer Action Project (I-ELCAP) which began in 1993, suggests that these outcomes could be dramatically improved by early detection of lung cancer through the use of annual CT screening. In this study, most of the people diagnosed with lung cancer were at the earliest stage (Stage I). Those who chose not to be treated all died within five years. However, the cure rate of those who received early treatment was 80 percent.
Due to advances in the technology of CT screening, it is now possible to detect lung cancer at its earliest stage, possibly improving the cure rate of a staggering amount of lung cancer patients as well as lowering the costs associated with lung cancer treatment. Read the official press release.
The cost of a low-dose CT scan usually ranges from $200 to $500 and treatment for Stage I lung cancer is less than half the cost of late-stage treatments, which most often have grave outcomes. In fact, compared to the cost of routine mammogram screening, the long-term savings could be similar or even better.
We have also examined the cost-effectiveness of lung cancer screening in our initial screening program, the Early Lung Cancer Action Program (ELCAP) and found it to be highly cost-effective.
Women Exhibit Greater Risk of Lung Cancer
A study by I-ELCAP researchers found that women were twice as likely as men to develop lung cancer when comparing similar smoking histories. The study was published in the July 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association and involved 17,000 subjects from CT screening sites across North America. In the study, women were found to have 1.9 times the risk of developing lung cancer as men when the results were analyzed to control for age and smoking histories.
Based on this research, it is even more critical that teen girls and young women avoid smoking cigarettes, even on a social basis. The findings suggest that women's lung cancer risk can be significantly affected by even light tobacco smoking.