A new study has found that screening smokers with computerized chest scans could help in early detection of tumors, which may save many lives, just like mammograms do for women with breast cancer. Lung cancer is the most lethal form of all cancers, causing up to 3 million deaths every year. The survival rate of lung cancer patients is very low, with only 10% of the patients diagnosed with this disease, expected to survive for at least the next five years. Inhaling carcinogens is the main cause for this disease and nearly 40% of smokers eventually develop lung cancer. Doctors believe that early detection of lung cancer can improve the survival rate of patients and this study has shown that early detection of lung tumors using CT scans increases the survival rate of patients by over 60%.
Dr. Robert Smith, director of screening at American Cancer Society, said that this study has given a thrust to the belief that screening offers many advantages in saving the lives of lung cancer patients. More than 31,500 people from the high-risk group (smokers or those who had been exposed to passive smoking) participated in this study, which involved frequent screening of the participants for lung tumors. Using statistical tools and data from this study, researchers estimate that the survival rate of lung cancer patients increase to 88% if the disease is detected early and it is 92% in those patients who underwent a surgery to remove the lung tumors within a month of its detection.
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