Scientists at Tel Aviv University and Rabin Medical Center have discovered they can detect lung cancer early in smokers by performing a CT scan at the time they are admitted as pneumonia patients. Often, the pneumonia is caused by young cancer cells blocking air pathways.
According to the American Journal of Medicine, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in the US, associated with a 5-year survival of 17%.
The most important risk factor for lung cancer is smoking, which causes approximately 85% of all lung cancer cases. Only 15% of patients are diagnosed at an early stage.
The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) demonstrated that screening heavy smokers with low-dose computed tomography reduces mortality from lung cancer.
Following the NLST, the United States Preventive Services Task Force and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommend annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography in adults who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years, ages 55-80 (US Preventive Services Task Force) or 55-77 years (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).
However, there are numerous controversies about this broad recommendation, regarding both medical and cost-effective issues.
By: Michael Ordman
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