CT Scans Offer Hope for Catching Lung Cancer Early

July 07, 2011
Lebanon, NH

The Cancer Center's William Black, MD, explains significance of the research in new video.

New research from the National Lung Screening Trial suggests that giving current and former heavy smokers CT scans could reduce mortality from lung cancer by as much as 20 percent. Dr. William Black, a member of Norris Cotton Cancer Center and head of the Dartmouth Medical School's participation in the NLST, comments in a new video that not only did the research show a significant reduction in lung cancer deaths due to screening via CT scans, but overall mortality dropped seven percent as well.

At present, the majority of lung cancers are caught late, resulting in just a 15 percent survival rate at five years. Previous studies have shown that using a standard chest X-ray doesn't catch the presence of lung cancer early enough to alter the mortality rate, but the new CT scan research could be a game-changer, says Dr. Black. When diagnosed early as a result of CT scanning, 60 to 90 percent of lung cancers are curable.

The research, involving data collected from 50,000 subjects at 33 sites and published June 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the first solid evidence that screening high-risk patients using CT scans could reduce lung cancer deaths -- a finding that has at least 20 of the nation's major medical centers setting up CT lung screening programs of their own, according to ABC News.

For more information contact Steve Bjerklie at (603) 653-9056.

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