About 170,000 Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. Most are diagnosed with an advanced stage of the disease and nearly 90 percent die within two years. But catching lung cancer early—when surgery is a treatment option—may improve survival.
A new study funded by the National Cancer Institute shows that screening for lung cancer with chest X-rays detects early lung cancer, but it also detects many insignificant nodules. The multi-center, randomized Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian cancer screening trial (PLCO) enrolled close to 155,000 participants, ages 55 to 74, from 1993 to 2001 and continues to track them. PLCO is the first major lung screening study to include women.