Lung Cancer Detection | The Importance of Early Cancer Detection
Despite getting less attention and less funding than other forms of cancer, the fact remains: Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer in the United States.
The disease doesn’t discriminate: it tops the list for men, women and all ethnic groups, resulting in over 157,000 deaths projected in 2010 according to the American Cancer Society.
That results in 27% of all cancer deaths for 2010—in fact, more than 1 in 4 cancer deaths are lung cancer deaths.
The question remains: Why are these numbers so large?
While having 20% of the adult population still smoking, according to the American Heart Association, doesn’t help, it can also be attributed to how the disease is found.
Most lung cancer is found symptomatically, meaning only when symptoms appear. In general, this tends to be later stage cancer.
The 5-year survival rate is only 15%, virtually unchanged in the last 40 years. Here are a few more scary realities about lung cancer:
- Each year, more men are diagnosed with lung cancer, but more women are living with the disease. However, the rate of new lung cancer cases (incidence) over the past 31 years has dropped for men (20% decrease), while it has risen for women (110% increase).
- The 5-year survival rate for lung cancer is 52.6 percent for cases detected when the disease is still localized (within the lungs). However, only 15 percent of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage. For distant tumors (spread to other organs), the five-year survival rate is only 3.5 percent.
- Over half of people with lung cancer die within one year of being diagnosed.
Even more frightening facts can be found here.
Unlike other cancers such as breast, colon, prostate, there is no widely recognized early detection method for lung cancer. No mammography, colonoscopy or PSA has been established and accepted as a means for early detection of lung cancer.
If you would like to find out your current lung cancer risk, you can find many helpful online tools, including this free lung cancer risk assessment.