Catching Cancer Early

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Story Updated: May 24, 2013

An estimated 228 thousand Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year alone. And about 160 thousand will die of the disease.

As with other cancers, early detection is important for successful treatment.

So researchers enrolled more than 50 thousand people in a study to compare low-dose CT scans versus chest x-ray for finding abnormalities. Participants were all heavy smokers. either current or within the previous 15 years.

Half of the group was randomly assigned to undergo annual low-dose CT for 3 years and the other half received traditional radiography.

Lung cancer was diagnosed in 292 people in the CT group and 190 in the x-ray group. Analysis showed that nearly all of that numerical difference was the result of CT scans catching many more early stage cancers.

The researchers say these findings confirm that using low-dose CT to screen for lung cancer can save lives.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the latest breakthroughs from the world of medicine.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com