How to diagnose pulmonary nodules: from screening to therapy
Lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide and early detection allows for a better survival for lung cancer, which is supported by the results of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) in 2011 (1). Early screening by low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in high-risk patients can induce a 20% reduction in lung cancer-specific mortality, therefore LDCT is now recommended for lung cancer screening. It is demonstrated that the implementation of early screening could increase the number of detected pulmonary nodules by an estimated 875,000 per year (2). However, it is suggested that the majority of screen detected nodules were benign, making it necessary to establish a comprehensive criterion of screening, diagnosis and therapy of pulmonary nodules so that lung cancer can be early detected and not over-diagnosed.