• We analyzed 384 veterans who had "curative" (sometimes conservative) resection from 1966 through 1986 for stage I, non—small-cell primary lung cancer to identify significant variables influencing survival. Operative mortality was 3.1%, mainly from heart attacks. Most patients were asymptomatic, presenting with other diseases of smoking. Five-year survival was 43%; deaths from lung cancer only, 63% (T1,73%; T2,49%). Two hundred fourteen (57.5%) of the 372 operative survivors had T1 and 158 (42.5%) had T2 disease. Sixty-five percent had peripheral nodules (84%, T1; 38% T2). Pure squamous cell predominated, in 63% overall (T1, 55%; T2, 74%). Systemic metastases caused most cancer deaths. Within T1, diameter was highly significant. Cell type and time of operation (before or after Dec 31, 1980) were also significant. Under T2, only scarring and differentiation were significant. Veterans in this group live longer if they have small squamous cell tumors.
(Arch Surg 1988;123:446-449)