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CT Scans Can Reduce Lung Cancer Deaths, Study Finds

(New York Times) Nov 4, 2010 - Annual CT scans of current and former heavy smokers reduce the risk that they will die from lung cancer by 20 percent, a huge government-financed study has found.

Robert A. Figlin, MD., FACP (Posted: November 04, 2010)

quotesThis long awaited trial performed by the National Cancer Institute demonstrates the benefits of low dose spiral CT scanning in patients at risk for lung cancer when compared to chest x-ray. A 20 percent reduction in mortality allowed the DSMB to stop the trial and inform the results. These results will be presented more formally in a peer reviewed journal but will allow patients at risk to have the promise of an earlier identification of their cancer. Challenges to this effort will be the balanced discussion about the risk of pursuing false positive results that might allow for the additional risks of unnecessary biopsies, surgeries, producing potential morbidity. In balance the results of this long awaited study will change the paradigm for the identification of patients at risk for getting lung cancer by using low dose spiral CT scanning with the hopes of this extending to reducing mortality from lung cancer. These approaches are often best offered by multidisciplinary teams composed of diagnostic and interventional radiologists, thoracic oncologic surgeons, and lung cancer medical oncologists.quotes

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