The following is a summary of the “Trends in Stage I Lung Cancer,” published in the March 2023 issue of Clinical Lung Cancer by Singareddy, et al.

Coincident with the release of the first lung cancer screening guidelines in 2013, the American Cancer Society has reported an increase in the percentage of patients with localized lung cancer from 2004 to 2018. To better assess the developments in stage I according to patient and tumor characteristics, they analyzed the National Cancer Database (NCDB).

Patients diagnosed with lung cancer between 2010 and 2017 were chosen from the NCDB Public Benchmark Report. Patients classified as having stages I through IV according to the AJCC seventh edition were analyzed regarding their diagnosis year, histology, age, sex, race, and health insurance. About 1,447,470 patients were initially identified in the database, but 56,382 (3.9% of the total) were disqualified because they were ineligible because they were in stage 0 or because their histology needed to be corrected. From 2010 to 2017, the percentage of patients diagnosed with stage I lung cancer rose from 23.5% to 29.1%. 

This rise was driven primarily by increases in the prevalence of NSCLC (25.9% to 31.8%) and small-cell lung cancer (5.0%). (SCLC). Stage I was less common among patients younger than 70 years old, men, and people of color than it was among patients older than 70 years old, women, and people of other races. In addition, those without health insurance were less likely to be in stage I. From 2010 to 2017, there was a sharp rise in the proportion of patients diagnosed with stage I NSCLC. Although this change in staging was seen across the board, there were clear disparities between patient subsets when categorized by demographics.