Until relatively recently the diagnosis of cancer of the lung inevitably signified a rapidly tragic outcome. Within the past six years, however, many patients with pulmonary malignant tumor have been spared this death sentence by the successful removal of the cancerous lung. Of even greater importance is the increasing incidence of such survivals. The successes in the earlier cases were few because of late diagnoses and also because preoperative preparation, anesthesia and operative technic were inadequately developed. Recently, because of early diagnoses as well as improvement in surgical management, the prognosis of pulmonary carcinoma has become relatively favorable.
Until relatively recently carcinoma of the lung was considered infrequent. Adler collected 374 cases of carcinoma of the lung in 1912 and stated: "On one point, however, there is nearly complete consensus of opinion and that is that primary malignant neoplasms of the lung are among the rarest forms of disease."