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Follow-up of Patients With Completely Resected Lung Cancer

Robert J. Downey, MD, FCCP (New York, New York)
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Dr. Downey is Assistant Professor, Division of Thoracic Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Correspondence to: Robert J. Downey, MD, FCCP, Division of Thoracic Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Ave, New York, NY 10021



Chest. 1999;115(6):1487-1489. doi:10.1378/chest.115.6.1487
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Extract

This year, approximately 177,000 new primary lung cancers will be diagnosed in the United States1; approximately 25% of these patients will undergo surgical resection with curative intent. Recurrences after an apparently complete resection may be locoregional, distant, or both, and will develop over the next 5 years in approximately 20 to 30% of patients with stage I disease, in 50% of those with stage II, and in 70 to 80% of those with stage III disease.2 Early detection of a recurrence may benefit a patient by affording an opportunity for curative reresection of locoregional disease or instituting noncurative medical therapies as soon as possible to prolong life or to sustain a level of quality of life for as long as possible, or both. Other benefits from ongoing monitoring might include improved management of nononcologic medical problems, detection of new primary malignancies in a population at heightened risk, the opportunity to allay fears about symptoms or physical findings wrongly interpreted by the patient or family as suggesting recurrent disease, and provision to the surgeon with feedback on the effectiveness of surgical management.

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