Article Abstract

Population health’s unanimity on lung cancer screening: far ahead of medical advice

Authors: Bruce Pyenson, Claudia I. Henschke, David F. Yankelevitz


A recent publication found that lung cancer screening of high risk smokers and ex-smokers is cost-effective in Ontario, Canada. The carefully designed modeling by ten Haaf et al. (1) agrees with many recent studies—lung cancer screening saves lives at a reasonable cost. Other studies that were based on either the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) (2) or the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (I-ELCAP) (3) results have come to this same conclusion. Of note, ten Haaf presents a scenario (scenario 11) where screening reduces deaths from lung cancer by over 80%, which is consistent with I-ELCAP findings. Several other features of ten Haaf’s work are notable, including his recognition that “false positives” found by lung cancer screening are very rarely harmful, and that improvements in protocols since NLST will likely further improve cost effectiveness.