Navigating Healthcare – Patient Safety and Personal Healthcare Management

Sloan-Kettering MD warns: don’t believe the hype about lung cancer screening

Posted in Uncategorized by drnic on November 29, 2010

In a great posting on the challenges of linking research to clinical practice and the continued attempt by some to push CT imaging as a oung cancer screening tool Gary Schwitzer covers this and a posting frm  Sloan-Kettering 

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Before this week ends and before the piece is forgotten, I wanted to draw attention to Dr. Peter Bach’s column in Slate, “CT Scam: Don’t believe the hype about lung-cancer screenings.” He hits on evidence, on harms, on costs, and on marketing that has already exploded all over the country

“Cancer screening is fundamentally inefficient: Hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of people must be screened to help just one or two. Each person who undergoes the test may suffer consequences from it, even though most will never get any counterbalancing benefit. This is why the recent study–called the National Lung Screening Trial–focused on a narrow, “high-risk” subgroup of the adult population who ranged from 55 to 74 years old and had smoked at least a pack a day for 30 years. If they had quit, it was within the past 15 years.


Some day CT screening will save lives–hopefully a lot of them. It will harm some people, too. We can stay ahead in this tradeoff if we are circumspect about whom we screen, and if we don’t believe every radio ad we hear.”

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Select your screening carefully and don’t be misled by the marketing efforts of imaging companies

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