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Early screenings help beat lung cancer

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For smokers and former smokers the possibility of lung cancer is a real concern. But an expert panel says patients should still say no to lung cancer screening with CT scans. Lung cancer kills more Americans each year than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. Successful treatment of lung cancer improves dramatically if it's caught early -- increasing to nearly 50 percent from 2 percent when the cancer is advanced. Few patients are diagnosed in the early stages. Some studies have suggested that annual screening with chest ct scans could catch lung cancers when they are small and more treatable. However, experts at the American College of Chest Physicians have reviewed all of the studies on the subject and they recommend against ct scans for lung cancer screening. Research shows that screening with ct scans detects more lung cancers but does not make a difference in the death rate. It also generates many false positives, where patients undergo painful follow-up tests only to discover they don't have cancer. Additionally, the group recommends against taking vitamins to reduce lung cancer risk, saying research doesn't support it, but does recommend patients with lung cancer try alternative therapies.

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