CT scans can reduce risk of lung cancer death

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CT scans can reduce risk of lung cancer death

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Welcome to Public Health Moment from the University of Minnesota. Heavy smokers who receive annual CT scans, instead of standard X-rays, reduce their risk of dying from lung cancer by 20 percent. That’s according to a study of 53,000 smokers. Tim Church, a University of Minnesota expert on cancer screenings, led the study in Minnesota. <Church: “This finding is terribly important because it’s the first time that we’ve been able to demonstrate that you can in fact lower mortality from lung cancer among heavy smokers. And that’s something we can build on for preventing death from this disease. There are a number of things we might do to improve on the method that was used in the study. One way we can improve on it is better targeting the screening, by better being able to assess the risk of lung cancer in smoking populations.”> Despite the good news, Church says additional research needs to be done before CT scans can be recommended as a standard. That’s because a positive screening now requires additional testing to ensure that the positive finding is indeed cancer. This could range from additional radiological testing to surgery to remove parts of a lung. <Church: “It’s not without costs, either dollar costs or human costs. And so,, there’s still some research to be done before we can recommend this as a general screening method for heavy smokers.”> For Public Health Moment, I’m Mark Engebretson.



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Engebretson, Mark; Tim Church. (2010). CT scans can reduce risk of lung cancer death. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/257709.

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