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Follow-Up CT Scans Can Reduce Lung Cancer Mortality

Outside of skin cancer, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United states. The disease strikes women as readily as men, impacting an estimated 224,000 new people each year. Some 158,000 Americans die from lung cancer annually, shedding light on the need to enhance testing and earlier interventions. Studies have found that the use of negative low-dose CT scans on higher risk patients can reduce mortality related to this form of the disease.

A recent retrospective study looked at records related to just over 19,000 patients who had received low-dose CT scans. Patients were followed over the course of five years from their last annual exam. The findings ultimately showed patients who received scans had a lower rate of lung cancer-related deaths.

While negative low-dose CT scans cannot prevent lung cancer, their routine use in high risk patients has been proven critical for helping physicians catch this potentially fatal disease early. Lung cancer, like many other forms of the disease, can often be successfully treated when it is caught in its earliest stages. Screenings provide a way for doctors to catch this disease fast, enabling potentially lifesaving actions.

People who are at high risk for lung cancer are generally those who have a history of smoking. Routine CT scans have been approved by some insurances for those who have a 30-year history of smoking at least a pack of day. Scans generally begin later in life when the chance of developing lung cancer is higher. Some studies have also shown that these scans can be beneficial for those with less than a 30-year history of smoking.

People who are concerned about their risk for lung cancer are urged to speak with their healthcare providers. When warranted, early screening with low-dose CT scans can open the door for fast detection and successful treatment of this disease.

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