|Today's post is shared from nytimes.com|
THE war against cancer can be confusing, with providers, insurers and policy makers debating the effectiveness of treatments, prevention programs and research. But there is one significant victory within our grasp. There is, increasingly, a consensus that CT screening for lung cancer can save thousands of lives each year.
Lung cancer, the No. 1 cancer killer, claims the lives of approximately 435 people in the United States every day. In fact, more women die of lung cancer each year than breast, ovarian and uterine cancers combined. While lung cancer is curable with surgery in its early stages, most people are given diagnoses of lung cancer after symptoms develop, when the disease is often advanced and resistant to treatment.
Now, however, there is good evidence that we can reduce the number of people who die of this devastating disease. A recent study called the National Lung Screening Trial proved that we do that by using a low-dose CT scan to detect early stage lung cancer. The study showed that in older people, both current and former heavy smokers, annual screening reduced the number of deaths from lung cancer by 20 percent.
Dozens of medical organizations, including the United States Preventive Services Task Force, now recommend CT lung screening for high-risk individuals. Approximately nine million Americans meet the task force’s criteria for high risk: current smokers between 55 and 80 who have smoked, on average, at least one pack of cigarettes a day for 30...