Cancer diagnosis: Screening smokers reduces lung cancer deaths

1st July 2011

Heavy smokers who undergo screening with low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT) scanning could be up to a fifth less likely to die from lung cancer.

According to a clinical trial conducted by the US's National Cancer Institute, the scans are more effective at preventing deaths than single view chest x-rays.

In addition, it was highlighted that the rate of deaths from all causes was 6.7 per cent lower in the group which had undergone spiral CTs.

Dr Denise Aberle, a researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles' Comprehensive Cancer Centre, said: "These findings confirm that low-dose CT screening can decrease deaths from lung cancer.

"This study also will provide us with a road map for public policy development in terms of lung cancer screening in the years to come."

The data can also be a useful cancer diagnosis tool as it will help determine if other groups could benefit from spiral CT scans.

More than 38,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, according to Macmillan cancer Research.

Posted by Edward Bartel

1 The National Lung Screening Trial Research Team.Reduced Lung-Cancer Mortality with Low-Dose Computed Tomographic Screening. New England Journal of Medicine, 2011

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