By Kay Quinn Healthbeat Reporter
St. Louis (KSDK) - It's been ten years since the start of a medical study looking at whether CT scans should be used to find lung cancer.
On this week's 8 Ways to Prevent Cancer segment, the one group that could benefit from this kind of screening.
The purpose of the study was two-fold.
"To see whether there were fewer lung cancer deaths among people that underwent CT screening of the lung, compared to people who underwent screening with a basic chest x-ray of the lungs," explained Dr. David Gierada, a Siteman Cancer Center radiologist.
Volunteers had three rounds of screenings one year apart, and then were followed for another six to seven years.
"It was found that there were 20 percent fewer deaths from lung cancer among people that underwent lower dose CT screening," said Dr. Gierada. "So that is considered to be an effective test for cancer screening."
But it's not for everyone.
Scanning the general public isn't recommended because the incidence of lung cancer is far lower.
And not all insurance companies will pay for CT screening for lung cancer.
But one group in particular can benefit.
"People who are 55 to 74 years of age were in that trial and they had to have a long history of smoking which was 30 pack years, which is equivalent to smoking a pack a day of cigarettes for 30 years," said Dr. Gierada.