Thomas L. Petty, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, 
University of Colorado

Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP)

  Meaningful Survival

February 2001
Second Wind
Lomita, California

  Dear Friends:

  The message in this month's communication was inspired by the Ninth International Conference on Lung Cancer, which I attended in Tokyo, Japan, in September, 2000. At this Conference, the scourge of lung cancer was discussed by over 2,000 people who attended from 64 countries. How to cope with lung cancer as it is usually diagnosed today by accident, or when symptoms of metastasis (spreading disease inside the body) are apparent, received special emphasis at this Conference.

  The pharmaceutical industry has responded to the challenge of lung cancer by developing new drugs to offer a new window of hope for suffering patients. Progress is being made, and meaningful survival for the majority of patients suffering from advanced stages of lung cancer is now an emerging reality.

  Today, we have the knowledge and technology which could change the face of lung cancer. The answer is early identification which greatly increase the chances of cure. Why is screening for lung cancer denied in the United States today? In Japan, screening is guaranteed by the government for any smoker over the age of 40. Why are we so reluctant to try to find lung cancer early in the United States? Ask the National Cancer Institute or the American Cancer Society about their position of denying that the early diagnosis of lung cancer can save lives. When they give you the party line, which is entirely wrong, go to Japan and be enlightened.

  I will be in touch next month.

  Your friend,

  Thomas Petty, MD

Published: Jan 31 2002