Lung Scans Fail To Cut Deaths

New study disputes value of CT scans for early detection
By Sarah Seltzer,  Newser User
Posted Mar 7, 2007 7:52 AM CST
The lungs of a patient show up on a computer screen as he is visible in the CT machine in the background.   (KRT Photos)

(Newser) – CT scans, once hailed as a breakthrough in early detection of lung cancer, fail to save lives, according to research published yesterday. In a study of 3,246 smokers or former smokers, the scans led to the discovery of more tumors—and more surgeries—than in a control group, but patients died at the same rate.

"Early detection and intervention did not save lives, but did subject patients to invasive and possible unnecessary treatments," said one of the authors, Dr. Peter B. Bach. Claudia Henschke of Cornell Medical Center, the author of a study that supports the value of CT scans, challenged the conclusion that they should be limited to clinical trials.