It is estimated that 159,000 Americans will die from lung cancer in 2013. Although the majority of these deaths could have been prevented, it is unrealistic to think that smoking will disappear any time soon. That said, more attention is being paid to early detection of lung cancer, since survival rates are dramatically better for patients diagnosed with earlier stages of disease.
For non-small cell lung cancer (the most common type) the 5-year survival rates are as follows:
Stage I - 45% - 49%
Stage II - 30%
Stage III - 10%
Stage IV - 1%
Obviously, the greater percentage of patients diagnosed with Stage I lung cancer, the greater will be the rate of survival. So one of the ways our Cancer Program quality can be measured is by comparing our patients Stage at Diagnosis to other Cancer Programs.
The chart below is reproduced from the National Cancer Data Base. It compares Tri-City Medical Center to other Comprehensive Community Cancer Centers in California.
The Good News – once again TCMC is above average, with 32% of patients diagnosed with Stage I or Stage II cancer, compared to 29% for the rest of the State.
We have a long way to go – even being above average resulted in 58% of our patients diagnosed with Stage III or Stage IV cancer. That’s why we are developing a Lung Cancer Screening Program, waiting only on Medicare and insurance coverage.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently released a draft proposal for lung cancer screening, utilizing low dose CT scans to screen high risk individuals. These scans are available at Tri-City Medical Center. Final recommendations, as well as Medicare and private insurance coverage, are still pending. Watch the TCMC website for updates on the Lung Cancer Screening Program.
Source: Data and narrative provided by Warren Paroly, MD. Dr. Paroly is affiliated with Tri-City Medical Center. He serves as the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer's Physician Liaison to the hospital's Cancer Committee. He is also the co-chair (along with Dr. Eva Lean) of Tri-City's Breast Program Leadership.
Dr. Paroly is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology.He is a founding partner of North County Oncology.