CT screening cuts lung cancer deaths
Widespread screening using low-dose CT scans can dramatically lower the lung cancer death rate, a large study of smokers and ex-smokers in the Netherlands and Belgium is confirming, Reuters Health reports.
Mortality reduced by 24% for men and 33% for women
After 10 years, the mortality rate for men who received regular screening was reduced by 24% compared to men who got no screening. Although women were under-represented in the study, the research team found that screening lowered their risk of dying from lung cancer by 33%. A total of 15,792 people volunteered for the study.
The decline is significant and clear-cut for males. It seems even more effective in females, ”lead study author Dr. Harry de Koning of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam told Reuters Health.
The researchers estimated that four rounds of screening over about five years prevented 60 deaths from lung cancer among the 6,583 screened. The rate of false alarms was 1.2%.
The findings buttress results from the United States, released in 2011 from the National Lung Screening Trial, showing a 20% reduction in mortality with CT screening.
European countries has been slower to adopt the practice
Although U.S. guidelines began endorsing routine lung cancer screening after the release of the 2011 findings, European countries has been slower to adopt the practice because studies done there have been small or inconclusive.
Will the new findings change practice in Europe?
This is the second large trial showing it works and it shows an even bigger effect than the first trial, says de Koning, a professor of public health at Erasmus.
Our job is no longer to assess whether low-dose CT screening for lung cancer works: it does,” the authors write. “Our job is to identify the target population in which it will be acceptable and cost-effective.”
Lung cancer kills more people worldwide than any other type of cancer. It’s responsible for 18.4% of all cancer deaths, in part because 70% of the people diagnosed with the disease are already at an advanced stage when it’s discovered. Only 15% survive for five years.