The Treatment of Lung Cancer in Situ

Frank W. Ellis, MD
JAMA. 1966;195(8):700. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100080140051.
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To the Editor:—  In the Oct 25 issue (194:adv p 33, 1965) is a news item concerning a community program of detection of lung cancer in situ by the Papanicolaou technique on sputum, which states that "lung cancer may be detected in situ as much as ten years before it becomes invasive."The article estimates that in this particular program about 40 persons will "show cancer in situ" (from sputum examinations). These cases are then to be "referred to private physicians for treatment."How does one treat lung cancer in situ? With the assumption that the chest x-ray and bronchoscopic and bronchographic examinations are negative (by the definition of "in situ"), what form of treatment is indicated and what direction does it take?The need for early cancer detection continues to be our major public health problem—but I am confused as to how one applies treatment to a patient


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