Aim: Lung cancer is a major cause of cancer death worldwide. The aims of this study were to analyze presentation, treatment and survival for lung cancer in northern Italy, and identify factors influencing survival.
Methods: A total of 1180 lung cancer cases diagnosed in four north Italian cancer registries (Biella, Modena, Reggio Emilia, Romagna) in 2003-2005 were analyzed. Information on morphology, stage, diagnostic examinations, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgical treatment was collected from clinical records. Three-year relative survival and relative excess risks of death were estimated.
Results: Overall, 10% of cases were stage I, 50% stage IV, and 12% stage unknown. Romagna - where sophisticated diagnostic examinations were performed more often - had proportionately more microscopically verified cases and resected cases than Biella. Romagna had also high proportions of cases given chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Three-year survival was 14%, range 10% (Biella) to 19% (Romagna); 69% for stage I, 3% for stage IV. Stage I survival was higher in Romagna (82%) than Reggio Emilia and Biella (60-61%) but for operated stage I cases, survival was similar (88%) in Romagna and Biella. The fully adjusted model showed a higher risk of death in Biella (1.23, 95%CI 1.02-1.48) than Modena (reference).
Conclusions: Stage and surgery are key factors influencing survival. Centralizing lung cancer treatment to improve diagnostic work-up may improve outcomes.
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