Continuing Education Activity
Worldwide lung cancer has the highest rate of mortality and is the leading cause of cancer deaths. The incidence of lung cancer is approximately equal to its mortality. There are approximately 1.8 million new cases of lung cancer every year globally and over 1.6 million deaths secondary to this. The survival rates for lung cancer are abysmal, in the United States the overall 5-year survival is as low as 18% which is in sharp contrast to the high rates of survival for breast, colon, and prostate cancer at 90, 65 and almost 100% respectively. These low rates of survival link directly with most lung cancers only getting diagnosed when the disease is in advanced stages. Before screening interventions, lung cancers in early stages were found mostly as a coincidental finding. Due to the late presentation of these patients, survival beyond a few years was not possible. Due to these problems, there was a global push for screening modalities for lung cancer to ensure the identification of malignancy occurred earlier in the disease process. The average 5-year survival in the United States of patients with lung cancer is 17.7%; however, this number drastically changes if we account for the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis. In patients with localized disease, the survival rates are as high as 55.2%. However, only 16% of patients get diagnosed at this early stage of their disease. This difference in survival rates further highlights the absolute need for a reliable screening tool for patients at risk for lung cancer. This activity reviews the considerations for lung cancer screening and discusses the role of the interprofessional team in considering the limited screen tools available for patients at higher risk.
- Describe the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.
- Review the survival rates of lung cancer.
- Outline the challenges and methods of early diagnosis of lung cancer.
- Summarize the considerations for lung cancer screening and outline the role of the interprofessional team in considering the limited screen tools available for patients at higher risk.