New lung cancer screening with CT scans, tested at Hopkins, finds tumors earlier and saves lives

In many cancers, early screening has helped improve your chances of a successful outcome when cancer is detected. But lung cancer has not had that type of effective screening tool until last year,  says Russell K. Hales, M.D.,  a radiation oncologist at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus, a lung cancer center of excellence.

“At Hopkins, we participated in a large study of over 50,000 patients who had high risk for lung cancer.  They were screened with either a chest x-ray, or a chest CT scan, and the results we saw were very promising,” Hales says. “In patients who received a CT scan to screen for lung cancer, there was an increased number of patients who had lung cancer detected, compared to those who had x-rays.”

Hales says that this research study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013, showed something even more exciting: Patients who were screened with CT scans had a decreased chance of dying from lung cancer, suggesting that tumors were picked up at an earlier stage.  That translated to a full 20% reduction in lung cancer death that occurred with CT screening, he notes.

Hales says the study means that patients who are at high risk of lung cancer should seek CT screening just as routinely as they do PSA screening for prostate cancer or mammograms for breast cancer.

Find out more from Dr. Hales about lung cancer, treatments for it, and innovative new research to help lung cancer patients in the free webinar, Lung Cancer: Serious Treatment for a Serious Cancer. To schedule a CT screening at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus, call 410-955-LUNG.

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