New Low-Dose Radiology Scan Can Save Smokers’ Lives

Tumors that would have otherwise gone unnoticed found by CAT Scan

The local healthcare professionals out of Butte County in California had made it a point to let smokers know a new machine can mean the difference in treatment with an early-diagnosis machine.

Study results have shown that a low-dose computer tomography, which is most commonly known as a CAT scan, allows for physicians to detect lung cancer in those patients who are deemed “at risk” by experts.

The National Lung Screening Trial, which has been sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, has confirmed that CT scans of the chest can save lives of those who are high-risk individuals.

According to the research of Tracie Fox, who is coordinator for North State Radiology in Chico, California, nearly one out of every 100 high-risk patients enrolled were found to have lung cancer in their very first screening.

The study shows that lung cancer-specific mortality benefit and increased survival rates rise with the use of the X-Ray. The study also noted that lives can essentially be saved, according to Dr. Ata Alijani, a diagnostic radiologist for the North State Radiology facility.

“For a screening to be able to save lives is great,” Alijani said. “The fact that the studies have shown that you can save lives and decrease the mortality rates by 20 percent; that’s really big. That’s unheard of for a screening test.”

Those who are highest risk are individuals between 55 and 74, who currently smoke or had smoked within the last 15 years. A pack-a-day average is the marker for high-risk as well, and 30-years of use is what indicates a high-risk individual.

The use of the low-dose CT during screening, the trial found tumors were not destined to be found by other means, says expert Dr. Matthew Gubens. The use of the low radiation is thus likely capable to save thousands of lives if it is used to monitor the many long-time smokers that are currently diagnosed as high-risk.


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