CT scans for lung cancer save lives?
Send a link to a friend
[June 10, 2011]
- Lung cancer kills more people each year than any other form of
cancer. However, a recent medical study found that one screening
procedure for those who are at the most risk for lung cancer could
be helpful in catching lung cancer in its early stages.
The National Cancer Institute recently released the initial results
of its National Lung Cancer Screening Trial that showed that the
mortality rate for those at the most risk for lung cancer could be
reduced by 20 percent with the help of regular screening using
low-dose CT scans - a diagnostic procedure that produces detailed
three-dimensional images of the body.
The ongoing study examined the effectiveness of both chest X-rays
and CT scans used for screening in current and former heavy smokers
ages 55 to 74. Screening using chest X-rays was not proven to reduce
mortality rates in the individuals being studied, yet it was shown
that CT scans had the ability to detect tumors at earlier stages.
The results are consistent with previous findings by The Mount Sinai
Medical Center physician Dr. Claudia Henschke. Her findings have
shown that annual screening with CT scans could help detect lung
cancer in its early and more treatable stages, data that were
corroborated by the NCI study.
"The NCI findings confirm what our researchers have believed for
quite some time - those at the most risk for lung cancer should talk
to their physicians about a low-dose CT lung screening," says Dr.
Raja Flores, Chief of Thoracic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical
Center. Dr. Flores notes that 60 other medical sites across the
world follow Mount Sinai's lung cancer screening CT scans are not
recommended for those who aren't at high risk for lung cancer. But
the prospect of early detection makes lung cancer screening a good
option for those who are at high risk, says Flores.
So who should contact their doctors about CT scan screening? The
Mount Sinai Medical Center recommends that current and former
smokers older than 40 with a smoking history of at least a pack a
day for 10 years or more ask their doctor whether screening would be
a good option for them.
[to top of second
To take a CT scan, the patient lies still on a table connected to
the CT scanner. The CT machine is shaped like a doughnut and the
table simply slides through the doughnut in 20 seconds. No
injections or medications are needed.
While those at the most risk for lung cancer should get screened,
those who aren't at high risk should take the following precautions
to avoid developing lung cancer:
* Don't smoke and if you do, quit. Smoking accounts for 87 percent
of lung cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.
* Avoid places where people are smoking, as exposure to secondhand
smoke can also lead to lung cancer.
* Test your home for radon gases and asbestos. Have these substances
removed if they are in the home.
* Do not work in a place with exposed asbestos.
For information on lung cancer, prevention and treatment options,