This chart from the NCI’s SEER database shows the five-year survival for lung cancer. Note the awesome upward trend. Survival increased to 19.4% in 2015.
This doesn’t seem like a bit improvement until you think about what it reflects. The year 2015 was only four years after the FDA approved the first targeted therapy for ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (the first of MANY targeted therapy approvals), and the first year the FDA approved any immunotherapy for lung cancer (as of today, four immunotherapies have been approved for lung cancer). That means the 19.4% survival in 2015 doesn’t yet reflect ANY of the improved survivals from targeted therapy or immunotherapy (except some patients on Tarceva who happened to have EGFR-positive lung cancer).
Edit to add: Lung cancer screening for high-risk groups began AFTER 2015, which means we’ll be catching more lung cancers in early stages, when they are curable.
Imagine where this curve will go by 2020! Go cancer research!
You can find the data for this chart here.