Why is early lung cancer screening important?

Because lung cancer has no symptoms in its early stages, more than 85 percent of the men and women who are diagnosed with lung cancer today are diagnosed in a late stage, after symptoms occur and when there is very little chance of cure. As a result, approximately 95% of the 173,000 people diagnosed each year die from the disease.

With early detection, 85 percent of cancers can be found in the earliest, most curable stage.  If treated promptly with surgery, the cure rate is estimated to be 92%(New England Journal of Medicine 2006: 355: 1763-1771).

The latest research from I-ELCAP shows that patients diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of annual CT screening have an estimated cure rate of 80%, regardless of stage and type of treatment.

It is already well-known that small, early-stage lung cancers are much more curable than those found in later stages. Work by other researchers has reported cure rates of 90% or more for small, early-stage lung cancers.