Lung Cancer Study Says CT Scans Yield No Benefits

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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A new study suggests that screening smokers and former smokers for lung cancer with CT scans does not save lives or prevent the disease to advance, and may lead to unneeded and harmful treatment.

Some experts have hoped that the scans will prevent lung cancer deaths by getting people into treatment earlier. But there has been no convincing evidence of that. Without that evidence, the American Cancer Society does not recommend the test, which costs $300 to $400. Most insurance firms do not cover it.

The research, reported in today's Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed lung cancer deaths and cases of advanced lung cancer in 3,246 smokers and former smokers who had annual scans for about four years. "We don't see a trace of evidence that a single life was saved, that a single case of advanced cancer was avoided," said co-author Peter B. Bach of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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