Type of lung cancer screening used to detect disease may impact 5-year survival rates

AURORA, Colo. — Dr. Hisao Asamura and his team of researchers at The National Cancer Center Hospital in Tokyo, Japan examined the records of 2,281 patients who underwent lung cancer resection surgery between 2000 and 2006. The study was published in the May issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the official journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. Dr. Asamura and his team found that after classifying patients based on the technique used to diagnose their lung cancer, either through CT scans or x-rays, there was a marked difference in five-year survival rates. Those patients diagnosed using CT scans had a 91.2 percent 5-year survival rate while those diagnosed with x-rays demonstrated a 77.8 percent survival rate.

The researchers also divided the patients into groups based on the detection type, including screen detection, symptom detection and incidental detection. The patients that demonstrated the highest five-year survival rates were those diagnosed through screening (79.6 percent) and then those diagnosed because of symptoms (74.6 percent). The patients that were diagnosed incidentally demonstrated the lowest five-year survival rate (64.6 percent).

The study findings demonstrate the impact of lung cancer screening, particularly though CT-scans, can have on improving patient prognosis by detecting the disease at an early stage. The accuracy of CT scans allow physicians to detect cancerous growths while the tumor is at an early stage and physically smaller, making it more operable. With lung cancer prognosis and survival depending heavily on the stage of the disease upon diagnosis, it is important to keep findings such as these in mind.

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