Consider these facts:
- In 2011, more than 220,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer and more than 156,000 people will die of lung or bronchus cancer.
- Smokers are 10 to 20 times more likely to get lung cancer. About 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in men and almost 80 percent of lung cancer deaths in women are due to smoking.
- There are more than 94 million current or former smokers in the U.S.
- Among both men and women in the United States, lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer, accounting for more deaths than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined.
In the past, no lung cancer screening test had been shown to lower the risk of dying from this disease. Studies involving spiral CT (or helical CT) have shown some promise in finding early lung cancers in heavy smokers and former smokers. So far, major medical groups have not recommended routine screening tests for all people or even for people at increased risk, such as smokers.