With an estimated 158,000 American deaths caused by lung cancer each year, this form of cancer is among the deadliest. Gaining an edge through early detection and rapid treatment can give those who develop the disease a much more positive outcome. While X-rays and other screening tools can be useful, researchers are adding to the growing body of evidence that CT scans deliver an edge in detection.
Simple low-dose radiation CT scans have been strongly recommended as routine screening tools for people who are older and have a long history of smoking. These tests, as it turns out, are also quite effective in helping detect lung cancer in middle-aged people who have HIV and a history of smoking. To ascertain the effectiveness of CT scans in this unique patient population, researchers conducted a study involving nearly 500 people. Each participant had HIV infection, a history of smoking and were middle-aged. Scans were able to find lung cancer in nine patients, six happened to be in the earlier, more treatable phases.
Lung cancer is of particular concern in the HIV-positive population. It turns out this form of cancer is among the most frequently and deadly non-AIDS cancer found in this population group. Gaining an edge on early detection may help improve the chances for survival, researchers say.
An estimated 224,000 new lung cancer cases are diagnosed across the United States each year. Early detection is considered critical for giving people a fighting chance to stop this disease in its tracks. While CT scans are now often used as screening tools for high-risk patients, their general use has not yet been adopted. As this study shows, the benefits of CT scan accuracy may very well extend to other high risk populations.
People who are at-risk for lung cancer are urged to speak with their healthcare providers. Early screening can lead to lifesaving treatments. Those who wish to lower their risk for developing this disease will find quitting smoking can be one of the most important steps.
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