November is a good time to take stock of the progress that has and has not been made with lung cancer. The national Smoke-Out occurs in November and as we approach the holidays it is a good time to think about what may be our commitment to a healthier life style in the coming year.
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death worldwide and is responsible for three times the death in men and women due to prostate and breast cancers. Overall, lung cancer causes more deaths than breast, colorectal, prostate and brain cancers combined.
Despite these sobering statistics some progress is being made. Between 2009 and 2018 the incidence of lung cancer declined by 2.4.5 in men and 1.4% in women. The smoking rates (of tobacco products) also declined by about 8% between 2005 and 2020. The use of low dose computed tomography (CAT) screening has allowed for the early diagnosis of lung cancers resulting in improved treatment and survival. Newer chemo and biologic therapies have shown progress in increasing the survival times for patients with advanced disease. Newer and more sophisticated diagnostic tools have evolved including robotic bronchoscopy which promises to help improve the early diagnosis of lung cancers.
The US Preventative Task Force has lowered the lung cancer screening age to 50 with only 20 pack years of smoking history. The most recent updates, however, show only 4.5% of the at-risk adults rec