CT Scans Cut Lung Cancer Deaths 20% They're better than X-rays at catching tumors early: Study By Nick McMaster, Newser Staff Posted Nov 4, 2010 2:57 PM CDT 5 comments Comments In this Jan. 17, 2008 file photo, a pack of Marlboro cigarettes is posed in Bremen, Germany. (AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach, File) (Newser) – CT scans of smokers can detect lung cancer at an early phase and cut the death rate by 20%, says a new study. Duke University researchers found that the scans were much better than regular chest X-rays at catching tumors at a more treatable phase, reports USA Today. The results were so definitive that the study of 53,000 heavy smokers was stopped early so participants could be advised of the results, notes the LA Times. "This is good news," says one cancer expert unaffiliated with the study. "The reduction in deaths is comparable to mammograms, which reduce deaths by 14% to 15%." The study focused on smokers or ex-smokers over 55, so further research is needed to see if the results are applicable in younger patients who have never smoked.