Longtime Smokers Need Yearly CT Scan: US Panel
Feds think move will save 20K lives a year
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2013 6:27 PM CDT

(Newser) – Longtime heavy smokers should add a yearly chore to their medical regimen, says an influential federal panel: Get a CT scan. Specifically, the panel recommends that people 55 to 79 who have smoked a pack a day for 30 years should get the tests, even if they've long since quit the habit, reports LiveScience. The CT scans would replace the current recommendation of yearly chest X-rays, reports the Boston Globe. And because the move is strongly recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force, insurance companies would have to cover the $300 to $400 cost.

"This is the first time we've had science that tells us that we can actually avoid some lung cancer deaths through screening," a vice chairman of the task force tells the Shots blot at NPR. "So this is really a big change." The move is somewhat controversial, because it brings with it dangers such as overdiagnosis and overtreatment, but the panel thinks the benefits outweigh the risks. They estimate that the scans will save 20,000 lives a year, once the recommendation officially goes into place later this year.

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Jul 31, 2013 9:07 PM CDT
i've said it for years... All smokers should have their heads examined!
Jul 31, 2013 7:02 PM CDT
If you are a smoker do you really care about your health enough to get the annual CT scan anyways? Most smokers are probably the type of people that believe that cancer will happen to someone else, even though statistics prove otherwise. I have watched a few people die from smoking related cancers and I cannot imagine a more tortuous way to die, suffocating and basically drowning internally. The coughs that these people have are haunting and every time I see someone I love smoking I imagine them dying this way. I know that is over the top, but from the time I was young I have seen the difference between people who smoke and those who did not. The worst thing about smokers is that they not only ruin their own bodies, but they make their families watch them suffer and die in the worst ways possible . If you are a smoker, please try to reach out to a quit line, ask your doctor for Chantix, or try to cold turkey it!
Jul 31, 2013 3:42 PM CDT
I'd still prefer my college sociology prof's idea..just put more chemicals in cigs to kill everyone off faster. Makes it cheaper !