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Study Suggests CT Screening May Prevent Thousands of Lung


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Cancer Deaths

http://www.newsinferno.com/storypages/9 ... 5~001.html

Date Published: September 24, 2005

Source: Newsinferno.com News Staff

Lung cancer is the most lethal form of the disease in both men and women, killing more people each year than prostate, colon, and breast cancer combined.

Everyday, an estimated 4000 people die of lung cancer, and each year, the disease kills 1.5 million individuals worldwide.

At a recent meeting of radiologists, oncologists, and pathologists from the Chicago area, well-known cancer researcher Claudia Henschke, MD, Ph. D., from Cornell, presented the results of a new international study that gives new hope to the possibility of early detection, and therefore potential cure, of lung cancer.

The study underscores the possibility of early detection of lung cancer through Computed Tomography (CT). According to the study, 97% of malignant tumors found in non-symptomatic patients through the use of CT scans have not yet spread beyond their original sites, and are therefore potentially curable through surgery, without additional chemotherapy or other treatment.

Identifying cancer early, when it is still in a treatable stage, is vital. Lung cancer in its earliest stage, Early Stage I, has a cure rate of almost 87%, and even higher in some subgroups.

But the methods commonly used for detecting lung cancer in these earliest stages, such as chest x-rays and sputum cytology, are far from perfect in terms of revealing cancerous tumors in this crucial period.

Usually, by the time a lung tumor is detected by an x-ray, it has spread outside of its original site. Currently, only 16% of lung tumors are detected during this vital stage when the cancer is potentially curable.

75% of patients with lung cancer are already symptomatic at the time of diagnosis. Their symptoms, chest pain, persistent cough, bronchitis or recurring pneumonia, are related to an advanced form of cancer, which has already metastasized and is incurable.

The recent death of news anchor Peter Jennings, only three months after his lung cancer was diagnosed, dramatically illustrated this very point. In more than 90% of cases overall, lung cancer is fatal.

As more and more hospitals begin to offer CT scans for lung cancer, however, early lung cancer detection, and therefore the potential for treatment and cure of the disease, will surely arise.

Researchers recommend that both current and former smokers over the age of 50 should discuss having a CT lung screening with their doctor. People over 40 who have been exposed to secondhand smoke are also recommended to pursue a screening.

The study was done with help of the International Early Lung Cancer Action Project (I-ELCAP), an international group of experts on lung cancer and related issues.

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