Sunday, November 7, 2010

Do CT scans decrease lung cancer deaths?

I used to work in primary care and I would see this often. People saw some new study on Good Morning America and would run into the doctor's office and ask for whatever test they were talking about on TV. The problem with those few minute sound bites is they don't always tell the whole picture and people don't always take the time to find out all the information.

The latest one is that CT scans will decrease lung cancer deaths. This has not been proven yet. CT scans might be more sensitive and find more cancers but it's possible these were cancers that would have never grown big enough to cause any symptoms or need any treatment. And what happens if you find a "spot" on a CT scan that's small? You follow it for changes with another CT scan. More scans, more radiation, more health care $$$. Is it saving lives? This hasn't been proven yet.

This story from has more information about the topic.

For now, listen to your health care provider's judgement on this one.

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