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Annaul CT scans can reduce lung cancer deaths

A new study by the National Cancer Institute has found that yearly CT scans of current and former heavy smokers reduce the risk that they will die from lung cancer by 20 percent, and even seemed to reduce their risk of death from other causes also.  “This is the first time that we have seen clear evidence of a significant reduction in lung cancer mortality with a screening test in a randomized controlled trial,” said Dr. Christine Berg of the National Cancer Institute.  The study was called the National Lung Screening Trial. 

Dr. Claudia Henschke, a longtime advocate for use of CT scans to screen for lung cancer, said the study probably underestimated the benefits of CT scans, because participants in the study were screened only three times over two years. Had the screening continuing annually for 10 years, as many as 80 percent of lung cancer deaths could have been averted, she said.