The latest data about lung cancer screening

Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t need to be. Lung cancer screening with a low-dose CT scan (LDCT) makes it possible to detect the disease early when it is most treatable and even curable. Screening is a game changer and those who fit the current “high-risk” criteria, age 55-80 with a heavy smoking history, should consider getting screened.

Here are the facts and figures you and your loved ones should know about lung cancer screening.

  • Lung cancer has the lowest 5-year survival rate at only 18% compared to breast at 90%, prostate at 99%, and colorectal at 65%.
    • The 5-year survival rate for lung cancer drops dramatically from a stage 1 diagnosis (68-92% survival) to a stage 4 diagnosis (0-10% survival).
  • Lung cancer screening lasts about 10 minutes, while the low dose CT scan itself only takes a few seconds. Any abnormalities found in the image may require additional observation or tests.
  • Medicare and most insurance plans cover individuals eligible for screening.
  • In 2016, fewer than 2% of the eligible population (7 million) in the U.S. received lung cancer screening, despite it being accessible in over 1,800 facilities (per an abstract presented at the 2018 ASCO meeting).
    • The screening rates in 2015 for breast was 50%, prostate 35%, and colorectal cancer 63% according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
  • The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2017 there were 222,500 new cases of lung cancer and 156,000 deaths in the U.S. alone.
  • Lung cancer accounts for 25% of all cancer deaths with breast at 14%, and prostate and colon at 8%.
  • Early stage detection of lung cancer is when the disease is most treatable, and only 16% of the eligible population will be diagnosed at an early stage.

Low dose CT lung cancer screening is recommended by:

  • GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer
  • United States Preventive Services Task Force
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • National Comprehensive Cancer Network
  • American Cancer Society
  • American Lung Association
  • National Lung Cancer Roundtable

Lung Cancer Screening Resources

Ask your physician about low dose CT lung cancer screening, utilize patient resources, and join the army of survivors.