CT screening for lung cancer is debated

A recent study by the National Cancer Institute found that annual low-dose CT screening of asymptomatic current or former smokers could reduce the death rate from lung cancer by 20 percent over screening with X-rays.  However, the findings come with some risk to patients, and are being debated across the nation, according to Kaiser Health News.

Kaiser Health News states that almost one in four people in the national study had a false positive from the CT scans, which can lead to a biopsy or other procedure that put the patient at risk. Patients are also being exposed to radiation from each CT scan.   The study also found that more than than 300 heavy smokers need to be screened to prevent just one death from lung cancer over a five-year period.

(Sources: Kaiser Health News, http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org, August 16, 2011; The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com, August 15, 2011)