Early Diagnosis is key to Treatment and Survival of Lung Cancer

A study published by The New England Journal of Medicine shows that annual Computed Tomography (CT) scans can be a reliable tool for physicians to use to detect Lung Cancer in early stages.  With any cancer, early detection will significantly improve the prognosis and survival of a patient with Lung Cancer.

Every year in the United States, approximately 173,000 people are diagnosed with Lung Cancer, and every year 164,000 die from the disease.

In the study, 484 participants were diagnosed with Lung Cancer, 412 (85%) of them had clinical Stage 1.  The 10-year survival rate of stage 1 Lung Cancer is 88%, while a 5-year survival rate for someone diagnosed with stage 4 Lung Cancer drops to only 5%.  Stage 1 is the only stage where surgery can be a very probably form of curing the disease.

Since early-stage Lung Cancer is asymptomatic, this study is significant because it shows that annual CT scans are a reliable way to screen people for Lung Cancer.  Annual CT scans can be a preventative procedure, much like mammograms are for Breast Cancer.

The Don & Sybil Harrington Cancer Center incorporates both CT and PET technology in the diagnosis and staging of cancer.  The PET-CT hybrid scanner is the only one in the region and is only available at Harrington Cancer Center.  The scanner combines both CT and PET procedures, providing physicians with information about the body's chemistry, cell function, and location of disease - information not seen through CT, MRI, X-ray, blood test, or physical examination.