Why is lung cancer screening important?

Lung cancer results in more deaths in the United States than any other cancer; in fact, it accounts for more deaths than breast, cervix, colon, and prostate cancer combined.

Because lung cancer has no symptoms in its early stages, more than 85 percent of the men and women who are diagnosed with lung cancer today are diagnosed in a late stage, after symptoms occur and when there is very little chance of cure. As a result, approximately 95% of the 173,000 people diagnosed each year die from the disease.

With early detection, 85 percent of cancers can be found in the earliest, most curable stage.  If treated promptly with surgery, their cure rate is 92% (New England Journal of Medicine 2006: 355: 1763-1771).