November 8, 2010 – Helical computed tomography (CT) screening is a highly effective way to help reduce the number of people who die each year from lung cancer, according to a statement from the American College of Radiology (ACR). The statement comes after the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial was stopped early so the positive results could be publicized.

In particular, the ACR is encouraged that the radiation dose in the trial was 20 percent that of a normal chest CT scan. However, it cautioned that any new screening program covered by Medicare would require an act of Congress. Additionally, it acknowledged that widespread screening could result in false positives and heightened anxiety, which must be weighed against the potential benefits.

Lung cancer, which is typically caused by smoking cigarettes, is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, killing nearly 160,000 people each year. The ACR said the most effective way to avoid lung cancer is to quit smoking or not start at all.

For more information: www.acr.org

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