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Semin Oncol. 2005 Jun;32(3):253-8.

Screening for non-small cell lung cancer.

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Pulmonary Medicine and Medical Oncology, Mayo College of Medicine, 200 1st St SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality and is usually discovered at an advanced stage, when treatment is generally not effective. Many researchers have investigated the value of screening for lung cancer, which would theoretically allow earlier detection and more effective treatment. Unfortunately, no trials of screening strategies for lung cancer have shown a mortality benefit, and as a result, no major medical organization currently recommends screening. Research continues to seek proof of the benefit of screening as new techniques are developed, including low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT), autofluorescence bronchoscopy, and advanced techniques of sputum analysis. Although there are promising data on the sensitivity of these newer screening methods, especially low-dose CT, for detecting early lung cancer, none of the published trials are controlled, and they have not yet proven a decrease in mortality. There are ongoing randomized, controlled trials aiming to demonstrate a mortality benefit. Patients who are interested in being screened for lung cancer should be encouraged to participate in well-designed clinical trials whenever possible.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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