Mount Sinai study shows earlier lung cancer diagnosis via CT screening significantly reduces deaths, underscoring the need for widespread screening adherence.
A Mount Sinai study published in JAMA Network Open reveals a significant decline in lung cancer deaths, largely attributed to earlier diagnosis through increased CT screening and incidental findings from other scans. The study suggests that detecting lung cancer at an earlier stage allows for surgical removal of cancerous nodules, potentially offering a cure. This marks the first large-scale study to show a decrease in mortality due to early detection, highlighting the life-saving potential of screening and subsequent surgical intervention in high-risk individuals.
The study analyzed data from over 300,000 patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the most common type of lung cancer, from the SEER Program database between 2006 and 2016. Results indicated a 4% annual decrease in lung cancer deaths. Additionally, early-stage diagnoses increased while late-stage diagnoses decreased, significantly improving median survival rates. In 2013, the USPSTF recommended annual CT screenings for at-risk individuals, which are far more effective in detecting cancer compared to chest X-rays.
Despite the proven benefits of CT screening in early cancer detection, adherence to USPSTF screening guidelines remains low. Dr. Emanuela Taioli emphasizes the importance of screening for early intervention and treatment, while Dr. Claudia Henschke advocates for increased screening among eligible individuals to save lives. Henschke’s lung cancer screening program, which includes an international registry, aims to expand eligibility for screening, especially considering the rise in lung cancer among non-smokers. The study underscores the critical role of screening in reducing lung cancer mortality and the potential to save a significant number of lives with wider screening adoption.