Can we hope to one day eliminate lung cancer as a cause of death?

Lung cancer claims more than one million lives each year globally, more than any other cancer. Despite continued research by devoted scientists on how best to treat the disease, it remains a significant challenge. At AstraZeneca, we are tackling this challenge head on and have shown up in force at the 2018 World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) – the destination for groundbreaking research on this disease for nearly two decades.

Lung cancer is a major area of focus for us, and over the last three years, we have introduced several new treatments – but our work is far from finished. Now, we are working on optimizing our therapies to give patients the best possible outcomes. Earlier intervention is key to delivering better results for patients – both in earlier stages of disease and lines of therapy.  



When a patient is diagnosed before the disease has spread, doctors can treat with curative intent and the patient is more likely to achieve a long-term positive outcome. Only 0-10% of patients diagnosed in Stage IV reach five-year survival, but the chances of long-term survival are much higher when diagnosed in Stages II or III (53-60% and 13-36%, respectively).1 We know screening is key to facilitating earlier diagnosis and intervention, but we have a lot of work to do to make progress on this front.

The transformation in breast cancer treatment during the last decade inspires me that we can bend the survival curve in lung cancer. It will take collective effort, scientific progress, a shared sense of urgency, and a healthy dose of hope to make a real difference for patients with lung cancer.

This very ethos is exactly what I’ve experienced this year at WCLC. Congratulations to the organizers, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and to the participants for their enthusiasm and dedication to patients. Together, we can hope to one day eliminate lung cancer as a cause of death.


1. Goldstraw et al. J Thorac Oncol. 2016; 11(1):39–51


Veeva ID: Z4-12897
Date of Prep: September 2018
Date of Expiry: September 2019