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Lung Cancer Screening – Is It Truly Beneficial?

Posted Nov 18 2010 1:44am

Lately the NCI make public the preliminary trial outcomes regarding lung cancer screening among individuals in the age band of fifty-five to seventy-four years of age who were smokers with a track record of 219000 cigarettes in their lifetime. That many cigarettes bear equivalence to a packet daily for three decades or duo packets daily for fifteen years. Undeniably that many cigarettes is bound to trigger bountiful health problems, however till recently, knowledge has been restricted to inadequate assistance in earlier detection of lung cancer.

Several researches have been unsuccessful in showing that the simplest test for detecting earlier staging lung cancer – X ray chest appeared to be of much assistance. In the past few years, a fancy & far costlier testing technique – Spiral CT scan was researched in varied approaches. A number of them were observed to show favourable outcomes whereas several other ones did not. The National Cancer Institute trial, the cream of the lot, seems to back spiral CT scan as fairly effectual although certainly not a flawless lung cancer screening test.

Subsequent to 3 years of twelve-monthly lung cancer screening, those people whose underwent Lung CT scan tests were found to have a twenty percent lessening in lung cancer fatality in comparison to those individuals who underwent X-rays. In case these outcomes are substantiated in further examination – it would translate to spiral CT scan can be an abler lung cancer screening technique as compared to mammogram for detecting breast cancer among females in their forties & PSA testing for diagnosing prostate cancer among males across all ages.

It additionally would mean that physicians need to self-contemplate. Many doctors are often struggling when caring for the smoker community and often not finding any logical reason for people continuing this detrimental habit. Smokers are often warned that cough is the foremost indication of lung cancer & they will in due course be paying heavily for smoking in their lifetime.

Majority of the people who smoke are actually keen on quitting it and are aggravated that they are not able to do it & have tough amendments to make as they face death of a condition which can be prevented.

Annual spiral CT scans of long-standing smoker community translates to 1 in 5 smokers who are ordained to lung cancer-related death would be surviving in its place. However this advantage does come with an associated cost – needless testing & therapies in several individuals. This is since for each individual life being saved, around three people who smoke would undergo several CT scanning tests, a hundred would be having irregular outcomes which necessitate follow ups for tests, 7 would be having an invasive testing for corroborating outcomes & duo would undergo surgical intervention for something which then would be turning out to be a false-alarm. Also all who undergo CAT scans would face exposure to significant radiation dosage that is capable of posing health issues in the future.

Moreover the monetary bearing – around ninety thousand dollars annually for saving a single life – which will not include all the further testing necessary on those one hundred people getting false-positive outcomes or the 7 who undergo invasive testing or those people undergoing surgery for benignant tumors.

Smokers, also the ones opting for lung cancer screening must not be seeing it as a pretext to continue smoking. The best way ahead is to stop the habit on the earliest as studies have shown that those people who ceased smoking despite several years of having smoked, drastically lessened their chances of premature deaths. Though smoke cessation can be tough, it is certainly attainable.

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