The Union Recorder

Top Stories

January 11, 2013

Lung cancer scans backed for older, heavy smokers

ATLANTA — After decades of qualms about lung cancer screening, the American Cancer Society says there now is enough evidence to recommend it, but only for current and former heavy smokers ages 55 to 74 and after a frank talk about risks and benefits.

The new guidelines, announced Friday, are a cautious but exciting step against the world's most deadly cancer, doctors who wrote the advice say.

It is based on a big study in 2011 that found annual, low-dose CT scans — a type of X-ray — could cut the chances of dying of lung cancer by 20 percent and from any cause by nearly 7 percent.

The study only included older people who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or the equivalent, such as two packs a day for 15 years. Whether screening would help others isn't known, so scans were not advised for them.

"We're trying to make sure we restrict harm that might come from screening," such as unneeded biopsies and follow-up procedures when scans falsely suggest cancer, said Dr. Richard Wender, family medicine chief at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Lung cancer is fairly rare before age 55, so "the benefits of screening are going to be less if you start at a younger age."

Wender, a former Cancer Society president, led the guidelines panel. Three of its 20 members have ties to companies that make cancer treatment or imaging products. The scans cost $100 to as much as $400 and are not covered by Medicare or private insurers.

"We believe insurance companies should cover this test for the right people — not for everybody," Wender said.

More than 160,000 people die of lung cancer in the United States alone each year, and the vast majority are diagnosed after the disease has spread.

Cancer screening has provoked great argument in recent years, especially over when and how often women should get mammograms and whether men should have PSA blood tests to look for prostate cancer.

Text Only
Top Stories
Poll
AP Video
U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks
NDN Video
Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl High school, College Drug Ring Busted In Montgomery County