Sputum cytology can play an important role in the detection of central type early stage lung cancer. In this paper the results of sputum mass surveys in a new trial conducted through an educational TV program was described. The authors organized educational material concerning the role of sputum cytology for afternoon TV talk shows in 1980 and 1981. On the TV shows the importance of sputum cytology in high risk groups such as smokers, the frightening aspect of the disease and the possibility of cure in cases detected at an early stage were described. The programs were broadcasted throughout almost all Japan. Sputum collection boxes were sent to those requesting them for an examination fee of S10. Sputum boxes were sent directly from candiates to the laboratory. The total number of candidates was 6820. The 4 cases of lung cancer detected were all males over 50 years old and heavy smokers. Sixteen other suspicious cases were finally diagnosed by fiberoptic bronchoscopy as severely atypical squamous metaplasia, bronchitis and other non-m align ant diseases. Two of the cancer cases were radiographically occult cancers which were finally diagnosed as early stage central type lung cancer on the basis of fiberoptic bronchoscopy. The diagnosis was confirmed by examination of the resected specimen. The detection rate per 100,000 examinees was 58.7. as compared to 10.3 per 100,000 examinations in regular surveys of Tokyo Metropolitan Government employees and an overall incidence of 16 per 100,000 examinees in the general population. TV education is therefore an effective method to increase public knowledge concerning lung cancer. Sputum mass surveys promoted on TV are effective to detect early stage central type lung cancer.
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