Oct
26
2006

New test detects cancer earlier

A cancerous growth in a windpipe.: Photo courtesy of District of Columbia Dept. of Health.
A cancerous growth in a windpipe.: Photo courtesy of District of Columbia Dept. of Health.

A new study has shown that examining patients with CAT scanners can drastically improve their chances for surviving lung cancer. Cancer is easier to treat when doctors catch it early, and CAT scans can detect cancerous growths much smaller than normal x-rays.

Lung cancer is the #1 killer in America. If caught early, a patient normally has about a 70% chance of living another ten years. In this study, that 10-year survival rate climbed to about 90%. Unfortunately, in most cases lung cancer is not detected until it has already started to spread, at which point the survival rate drops to 5%. The great advantage of this procedure is that it catches the cancer at a much earlier, more treatable stage.

Some researchers question the methods used in the study. A second, larger study is now underway to confirm the benefit of this procedure.

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