Increased Scans Could Prevent 12,000 Lung Cancer Deaths A Year; What Scan Should You Be Getting?

Lungs
Up to 12,000 American smokers and former smokers a year could saved by having a more detailed scan performed to detect cancer.

An analysis published in the American Cancer Society's journal CANCER shows that up to 12,000 people could avoid dying from lung cancer in the US yearly.

The study indicated that increasing screenings with Low-Dose Computer Tomography, similar to the supped up X-ray scans provided by traditional CT scans, but with a much lower dose of radiation, would catch cancer at earlier stages, increasing the survivability.

43 million Americans still smoke cigarettes and according to the CDC if they continue, half of them will die from smoking related illnesses, including lung cancer.

The analysis was called the National Lung Screening Trial and looked at the years between 2002 and 2009. People in the study who received the LDCT scan had a 20 percent less chance of dying from lung cancer than those that received only X-rays. The study's results was the same for those that were smoking at the time or had quit within 15 years, showing that the scan reduced mortality even in people who had quit smoking.

According to the press release: "Based on information from this trial combined with the US population size and other data, Jiemin Ma, PhD, of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and his colleagues concluded that in 2010, approximately 8.6 million Americans were eligible for LDCT screening for lung cancer according to the criteria used in the trial. When they combined this finding with information on lung cancer death rates, they estimated that if all screening-eligible Americans were to receive LDCT screening, approximately 12,000 lung cancer deaths would be delayed or prevented each year in the United States."

"Our findings provide a better understanding of the national-level impact of LDCT screening, which has the potential to save thousands of lives per year," said Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, a co-author of the paper.

Dr. Jemal also mentioned that since the publication of the National Lung Screening Trial results in 2011, many health organizations including the American Lung Association have recommended LDCT screening for lung cancer.

Interestingly, some health agencies are still waiting for new data before making any recommendations.

The article published in the journal CANCER can be found here

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