The current wealth of emerging technologies for the early detection of lung cancer provides hope that we may be able to reduce the burden of this 20th century disease in the early 21st century . To date, LDCT and advanced sputum analysis techniques appear to be the most promising emerging technologies for lung cancer screening, but ongoing advances in other techniques may change this perspective in the near future. Because of their proclivities for different cell types, LDCT and sputum analysis should be considered complementary rather than competitive screening tools.
Important questions to answer before proceeding to mass screening include the effect of screening on lung cancer mortality, the cost-effectiveness of widespread screening, the optimal screening tools to use, and the subsets of present and former smokers who are most likely to benefit from screening. National studies are being planned to answer these questions.
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