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Screening scans could cut lung cancer deaths

This is Lung Cancer Awareness month and the good news is that a recent trial reports that introducing lung screening for people at high risk of lung cancer could reduce deaths from the disease.  

Over 15,000 people without lung cancer symptoms, but who had a history of heavy smoking, were included in the NELSON study.

Half were offered four lung CT screenings during the study – one screening at the start followed by further scans at one, three and five-and-a-half years. No screening scans were offered to the other half of the participants and the number of deaths from lung cancer in each group were compared after a minimum of 10 years.

A release of the results reports that 7 out of 10 cancers (69%) were detected through screening and that the number of lung cancer deaths among men at high risk of lung cancer was 26% lower in those who had screening with a CT scan.

Lead researcher, Dr Harry De Koning of the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, said that earlier detection of these cancers led to surgeries that “increase the chances of cure” and that the results “should be used to inform and direct future CT screening in the world.”

November is Lung Cancer Awareness month when healthcare professionals are reminded of the need for early diagnosis. Patients are being encouraged to recognise the symptoms of lung cancer by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation which is running a campaign called Face Your Fear. You can find out more about the need to promote early and rapid diagnosis of lung cancer at a  this workshop being run by The UK Lung Cancer Coalition and Cancer Research on  28 November, Friends House, London.

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