A new study suggests that screening smokers and former smokers for lung cancer doesn't save lives or prevent advanced disease and may lead to unneeded and harmful treatment.
But it's not the final word on CT scans.
Some experts have hoped that the scans, which are a special kind of X-ray that can detect tiny lung abnormalities, will prevent lung cancer deaths by getting people into treatment earlier. But there hasn't been convincing evidence of that.
A large and authoritative scientific study won't be completed for a few years. Without that evidence, the American Cancer Society doesn't recommend the test, which costs $300 to $400, and most insurance companies won't pay for it.
The latest research, appearing in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed lung cancer deaths and cases of advanced lung cancer among 3,246 smokers and former smokers who had annual CT scans for about four years.