Implementing lung cancer screening in the real world: opportunity, challenges and solutions

Robert J. Optican, Caroline Chiles


The World Health Organization estimates that, in 2012, there were 1,589,925 deaths from lung cancer worldwide. Screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) has the potential to significantly alter this statistic, by identifying lung cancers in earlier stages, enabling curative treatment. Challenges remain, however, in replicating the 20% mortality benefit demonstrated by the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), in populations outside the confines of a research trial, not only in the US but around the world. We review the history of lung cancer screening, the current evidence for LDCT screening, and the key elements needed for a successful screening program.