CT Scans Help Detect Lung Cancer
Finally, some good news in the world of cancer.
The National Cancer Institute recently found that a special type of CT scan can help detect lung cancer early in smokers, reducing their mortality rates by 20-percent versus chest X-rays.
The results come from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), a study of more than 53,000 adults between the ages of 55 and 74, all of whom were currently heavy smokers, or had been at some point in their lives. They were required to have a smoking history of at least 30 "pack-years"--a figure obtained by multiplying the average number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years a person has smoked. Subjects also were to have no prior history of lung cancer.
"The findings were announcing today offer the first definitive evidence for the effectiveness of helical CT screening smokers for lung cancer," Constantine Gatsonis, a lead biostatistician in the study and the director of the American College of Radiology Imaging Networks Biostatistics and Data Management Center, said in a statement yesterday. "This is a major step in the formulation of appropriate screening strategies for this deadly disease."
NCI Director Harold Varmus added, "This finding has important implications for public health with the potential to save many lives among those at greatest risk for lung cancer."