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Screening for Lung Cancer: Current Status and Future Directions*: Thomas A. Neff Lecture

James R. Jett, MD, FCCP; David E. Midthun, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

*From the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Correspondence to: James R. Jett, MD, FCCP, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905; e-mail: jett.james@mayo.edu



Chest. 2004;125(5_suppl):158S-162S. doi:10.1378/chest.125.5_suppl.158S
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Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in North America. Currently, screening for lung cancer is not recommended. Therefore, patients will not receive a diagnosis until they present with symptomatic disease, which is usually advanced stage disease. Previous trials of screening with chest roentgenograms and sputum cytology have failed to show a decrease in lung cancer mortality. Some reports of screening with low-dose spiral CT scans have detected lung cancers at a smaller size (average size, 1.5 cm) than those usually detected by chest radiographs (mean size, 3.0 cm). Spiral CT scanning has been shown to detect between 58% and 85% of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) while they are in stage IA, and this compares favorably to the current medical practice, in which only 15% are detected as localized disease (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results study data). This article summarizes the spiral CT screening data, and reviews some of the data related to screening with sputum cytology, sputum methylation, and autofluorescence bronchoscopy. Last, there is a brief discussion of some promising future strategies, with emphasis and data from studies presented at this Aspen Lung Conference.


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