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Annual CT detects early-stage lung cancer, saves lives

CHICAGO Annual computed tomography (CT) screening is an effective diagnostic tool for detecting early-stage lung cancer in smokers and for reducing mortality rates, according to two ongoing studies from the 10-year Early Lung Cancer Action Project (ELCAP) in New York.

"More than 80 percent of the diagnosed lung cancers we found in initial and annual repeat CT screenings were Stage I the most curable form of lung cancer," said Claudia I. Henschke, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator of the studies and professor of radiology and division chief of chest imaging at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women, and more people will die of lung cancer than of breast, colon and prostate cancers combined, according to the American Cancer Society. Lung cancer has no early warning signs and a tumor may be the size of an apple by the time it is detected, often because of symptoms like shortness of breath, hoarseness, coughing up blood and unexplained weight loss.

Dr. Henschke presented the findings today at the 89th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

ELCAP: Original Cohort Study (1993-2003)

Multiple annual CT screenings were performed on 2,968 high-risk subjects to determine the proportion of lung cancers diagnosed on repeat CT screenings compared to those diagnosed from symptoms in between the screenings. The study also looked at the number of deaths due to lung cancer after long-term follow-up.

Cancers were classified as annual repeat screening diagnosis (findings on a low-dose CT scan 11 to 13 months after the last screening) or as an interim diagnosis (symptoms appearing within 12 months after the last screening). Among the 29 cases diagnosed, 28 were screen-diagnosed and one was interim-diagnosed, indicating that annual screening was frequent enough to diagnose early-stage lung cancer.
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Contact: Maureen Morley
mmorley@rsna.org
630-590-7754
Radiological Society of North America
1-Dec-2003


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