Worldwide, lung cancer and lung cancer related deaths have been increasing cancer medical professional epidemic proportions, largely reflecting increased rates of smoking. In the yearthe American Cancer Society predicted that there would be approximatelynew cases of lung cancer diagnosed and approximatelylung cancer-associated deaths in the United States.
Worldwide, it is estimated that there were 1 million deaths in the year Other risk factors include family history, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, environmental radon exposure, passive smoking, asbestos exposure, and certain occupational exposures. By far the most important public health intervention that could reduce lung cancer incidence and deaths is changing smoking habits.
For many of these reasons, screening for and treating early lung cancer is intellectually appealing. However, there are several important methodological issues that must be critically analyzed before considering widespread screening. Screening for lung cancer is not currently recommended by any major medical professional organization.
This recommendation was largely based on three negative United States trials conducted in the s, 1 evaluating chest x-ray and 2 evaluating sputum cytologic screening. However, since the last Task Force review, several new studies of lung cancer screening have been reported, and greater attention has been directed toward the limitations of existing literature. This review examines studies of lung cancer screening to aid the current US Preventive Services Task Force in updating their recommendation.