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Lung cancer CT screening

Screening for lung cancer results in fewer deaths from the disease, research shows

Lung cancer screening could help reduce deaths from the disease, new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows.

Lung cancer screening is a test that looks for early signs of lung cancer in people who are at higher risk of the disease. This is normally people who smoke cigarettes and are older. 

This study looked at around 13,000 men who were at high risk of lung cancer, so might benefit from screening. Half of this group were randomly selected for four rounds of lung cancer screening over several years. The other group were not offered screening. The researchers then compared the two groups to understand whether lung cancer screening made a difference to the outcome of either group.

The study found that the group that were offered screening were less likely to die from lung cancer compared to the other group. The researchers also found that lung cancers that were found by screening were more likely to be at an earlier stage of the disease. When lung cancer is found at an earlier stage, treatment is more likely to be effective.

More research is now needed in other groups, such as women. This will help researchers understand whether these results are the same in different groups of people.

Read the article abstract.

Read our factsheet on lung cancer.

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