To evaluate recent improvements in lung cancer screening, we compared the results of recently conducted lung cancer screening with those of a previous screening. This study compared the survival of lung cancer patients detected by lung cancer screening conducted between 1976 and 1984 (early period) with that conducted between 1989 and 1997 (late period). Two hundred seventy-six patients with lung cancer were detected in the early period and 541 patients with lung cancer were detected in the late period. The median survival time (late : 49.8 vs. early : 27.8 months) and the 5-year survival rate (late : 47.8 vs. early : 34.8%) of the patients with lung cancer detected in the late period were significantly better than those in the early period (p = 0.0054). Among patients undergoing resection, the proportion of pathological stage I patients in the late period was significantly higher than that in the early period (late : 60.8 vs. early : 54.9%, p = 0.005). Multivariate analysis showed that the screening time period was a significant prognostic factor (hazard ratio = 0.685, 95% confidence interval : 0.563-0.832, p = 0.0002). These results were consistent with the findings of case-control studies of lung cancer screening programs in the late period recently conducted in Japan, which also showed a greater efficacy for screening than for previous case-control studies in the early period.