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September 21, 2007

New Lung cancer test for 99% effective early detection

esearchers at a Gaithersburg, MD, pharmaceutical company say they have found that 99 percent of patients with all stages of lung cancer have detectable levels of a particular protein in their blood that healthy individuals do not. The company, Panacea Pharmaceuticals, is reporting encouraging preliminary results for its test for the protein this week at a conference of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Lung cancer survival rates are as high as 80% for stage 0 lung cancer If all lung cancer was detected early then survival rates would be far higher.

Stage 0 Lung Cancer
The lung cancer is localized
Five-Year Survival Rate = 70 - 80%

Stage I Lung Cancer
The lung cancer is confined to the lungs and surrounded by normal tissue.
Five-Year Survival Rate = 50%

Stage II Lung Cancer
The lung cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Five-Year Survival Rate = 30%

Stage III Lung Cancer
The lung cancer has spread to the chest wall, diaphragm, or other nearby organs or blood vessels.
Five-Year Survival Rate = 5 - 15%

Stage IV Lung Cancer
The lung cancer has spread to more distant sites in the body.
Five-Year Survival Rate = Less than 2%

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brian,

You should offer some support for the thesis that early detection will lead to dramatic improvements. Survival rates will be better for people who are diagnosed early, regardless of whether we have effective treatments or not. We've had years of bad science reporting on the 5-year survival time of patients with a variety of cancer (which has increased because of detection of cancers that have not yet and may never become deadly) without big changes in population death rates, and with many false positives.

bw said...

I am not sure I understand what support you are asking about. I provided the statistical record on 5 year survival rates for various stages of lung cancer. If there was a method to detect all cancer at stage 0 then treatment could begin. Therefore, all survival rates for cancers that could be detected at stage 0 would have stage 0 survival rates.

In terms of deaths in the USA

the 1980 deaths of 1,989,841 was a death rate of 0.88%
the 2003 deaths of 2,448,288 was a death rate of 0.84%
the 2004 deaths of 2,398,343 was a death rate of 0.82%
So total deaths fell to go along with a falling death rate (falling for decades) but now they think it was a mild flu season.
number of deaths in the United States for 2005 was 2,447,903
Death rate of 0.816

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=healthus05.chapter.trend-tables

2006 info
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/hus.htm

cancer death rates are falling slightly
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/preliminarydeaths05_tables.pdf#B
1.1% less in 2005 than in 2004

Anonymous said...

It takes time to progress from one stage of cancer to another. Imagine a world where 50% of cancers kill in the 5th year from their formation, and 50% kill in the 6th year. If previous tests found cancers in their 3rd year, the 5-year survival rate for identified cancer patients would have been zero. A new test that detected all cancers as soon as they formed would improve 5-year survival rates *from the time of detection* by 50%, even if medicine could do nothing.