Reviewed by Bronwyn Long, DNP, MBA, RN, Jeffrey Kern, MD, Laurie L. Carr, MD

CT Screening Can Detect Lung Cancer Sooner

The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) recently released results showing there were 20 percent fewer deaths from lung cancer among people who were screened with low-dose helical (spiral) CT than with chest X-ray. Using these CT scans, researchers were able to find lung cancer at an early stage. Because the disease was found early, the patients had more treatment options.

This study, funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), looked at 53,000 current and former heavy tobacco cigarette smokers between the ages of 55 to 74 from around the country

Heavy smokers have a higher risk of disease from many other types of cancers, heart disease and lung disease. The patients in the helical CT group had a 7 percent lower death rate from all causes than the group that received a chest X-ray. For every 300 NLST participants screened with CT, one life has been extended.

Visit the National Cancer Institute website for further information regarding this study.

Read a paper describing the study design on the Radiology website.


National Jewish Health now offers low-dose helical CT screening to patients at high risk for lung cancer.

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