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New Computed Tomography Study Shows High 20-Year Survival Rates for Early-Stage Lung Cancer


Emphasizing the benefits of annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT), researchers noted high 20-year survival rates for a variety of early-stage lung cancer tumor presentations, including a 100 percent survival rate for those with non-solid or partly solid cancerous nodules.

A recent report from the American Lung Association indicated that only 5.8 percent of Americans eligible for lung cancer screening follow through with the preventative, life-saving measure.1

However, detection of early-stage lung cancer via low-dose computed tomography (CT) may lead to a 20-year survival rate of 80 percent, according to the findings of a large international study being presented next week at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual conference in Chicago.2

In the study of 1,285 people with early-stage lung cancer diagnosed on CT scans, researchers noted a 100 percent 20-year survival rate for 139 study participants with non-solid lung nodules, and 155 patients with partly solid nodules. The study authors also pointed to a 73 percent 20-year survival rate in 991 people who had solid nodule presentations.2

“What we present here is the 20-year follow-up on participants in our screening program that were diagnosed with lung cancer and subsequently treated,” noted lead study author Claudia Henschke, Ph.D., M.D., a professor of radiology and director of the Early Lung and Cardiac Action Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. “The key finding is that even after this long-time interval, they are not dying of their lung cancer.”

Henschke and colleagues also noted an 86 percent survival rate for people diagnosed with stage 1A lung cancers and a 92 percent survival rate for study participants who underwent resection of pathologic stage 1A tumors that were 10 cm or less in average diameter and width.2

“While screening doesn’t prevent cancers from occurring, it is an important tool in identifying lung cancers in their early stage when they can be surgically removed,” said Dr. Henschke.

All of the study participants were enrolled in the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (I-ELCAP), a multinational program that emphasizes advance CT lung cancer screening and has enrolled over 87,000 people since 1992.


1. American Lung Association. New report: Critically low lung cancer screening rates reveal opportunity to save more lives. Available at: https://www.lung.org/media/press-releases/state-of-lung-cancer-2022 . Published November 15, 2022. Accessed November 21, 2022.

2. Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Lung cancer screening dramatically increases long-term survival rate. Cision. PR Newswire. Available at: www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lung-cancer-screening-dramatically-increases-long-term-survival-rate-301681836.html . Published November 22, 2022. Accessed November 22, 2022.

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