Background: Previous Commission on Cancer data from the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) have examined time trends in stage of disease, treatment patterns, and survival for selected cancers. The most current (1992) data for lung cancer are described here.
Methods: Four Calls for Data have yielded a total of 560,455 lung cancer cases diagnosed in 1986-1987 and 599,597 cancer cases diagnosed in 1992, from hospital cancer registries across the United States.
Results: A total of 91,115 lung cancer cases diagnosed in 1986-1987 and 92,182 diagnosed in 1992 were reported from cancer registries across the United States. Lung cancer occurs mainly in patients between the ages of 50 and 80 years. There was an increasing relative frequency of adenocarcinoma, and of lung cancer in women, and a noteworthy poor prognosis among African Americans. Lung cancer patients were reported from all types and sizes of hospitals in America, from smaller community hospitals to major teaching centers. Treatment by surgical resection occurred more frequently in the major cancer centers. The overall prognosis for lung cancer remains extremely poor.
Conclusions: For a selective category of patients (Stage I), cancer-directed surgery offers reasonable cure rates, but these data underline the need for earlier diagnosis and improved treatment modalities in the overall management of lung cancer patients.