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MEDIA ADVISORY: Lung Cancer Screening Can Save Smokers’ Lives: Yale Cancer Center Experts Respond to Historic New Study

June 29, 2011

New Haven, Conn. — Yale Cancer Center experts in lung cancer screening, surgery and medical oncology are available to speak about the groundbreaking study results published in the New England Journal of Medicine that find, early lung screening of smokers and former smokers can save lives.

The study, conducted at UCLA as part of the federally-funded National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), finds that there is a greater than 20 percent reduction in lung cancer mortality among those who were screened at early stages of the disease.

Roy Herbst, M.D., chief of medical oncology at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, said, "This is a historic study, showing for the first time the benefit of screening to improve lung cancer survival. As a result, tertiary care centers like Yale can now begin to screen former smokers and carefully evaluate and monitor any abnormalities found."

Frank Detterbeck, M.D., surgical director of the Yale Thoracic Oncology program, said, "With a greater than 20 percent reduction in lung cancer mortality, there are very few single things in our lifetime that will have such a positive impact with lung cancer as these new screening suggestions."

But Detterbeck also issues a cautionary note. "The NLST addresses a very specific population of people. It will be important to continue to monitor the data and evolve our screening and treatment practices in the coming years so that we can maximize the positive impact it will have on lung cancer survival rates."

The following Yale physicians are available to speak to reporters:

  • Frank Detterbeck, MD, Surgical Director, Yale Thoracic Oncology Program, 203-785-4931, cell 203-641-6808, or
  • Thomas Lynch, MD, Director, Yale Cancer Center, and Physician-in-Chief, Smilow Cancer Hospital, 203-785-4371 or
  • Roy Herbst, MD, Chief of Medical Oncology, Yale Cancer Center and Yale School of Medicine, 203-785-6879 or

PRESS CONTACT: Karen N. Peart 203-432-1326

Submitted by Justin Fansler on July 29, 2011