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Lung CT Scan for Cancer: Should you be screened?

By Mayo Clinic Staff
March 2011

If you're a smoker or former smoker, you may worry about your risk of getting lung cancer or dying from it. A major study of heavy smokers, called the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), compared lung CT scans and chest X-rays and found that getting a lung CT scan lowered the risk of dying of lung cancer.

This is the first study to show lung cancer screening may save lives. However, not all study details have been released for careful review by doctors and scientists other than those who conducted the study. For that reason, medical groups, including the American Cancer Society, don't yet recommend lung cancer screening to smokers and former smokers.


David Midthun, M.D., is a consultant in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. He explains the results of the NLST study and the pros and cons of using lung CT scans for lung cancer screening.

Results of the National Lung Screening Trial suggest that smokers and former smokers might benefit from lung CT scan screening. Is that the case?

To read the entire article, click here.

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