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X-Ray Screening Doesn't Prevent Lung Cancer Deaths: Study
Date:10/26/2011

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Using chest X-rays to screen for lung cancer doesn't prevent deaths from the disease, a new study finds.

"There really was no benefit of the screening," said study co-author Dr. Christine Berg, chief of the early detection research group at the division of cancer prevention at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. "We detected some of the cancers a little earlier than we would have, but not early enough or in large enough numbers to really have an impact on lung cancer mortality."

Experts noted that the results of the large randomized clinical trial should put an end to any lingering questions about whether X-rays are useful in lung cancer screening. Recent research has indicated that CT scans are more effective at spotting malignancies earlier.

The study involved more than 150,000 never smokers, former smokers and current smokers aged 55 to 74 taking part in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial.

Half of the participants, including smokers and nonsmokers, underwent annual chest X-rays for three or four years between 1993 and 2001; half did not get screened.

During 13 years of follow-up, similar numbers of people in both groups were diagnosed with lung cancer -- 1,696 in the screened group and 1,620 who were not screened.

There were 1,213 lung cancer deaths in the screened group and 1,230 in the unscreened group. Those who were not screened were no more likely to die of lung cancer than those who underwent the annual X-rays, according to the study in the Nov. 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The research was published early online and is scheduled to be presented Wednesday at the American College of Chest Physicians annual meeting, in Honolulu.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and worldwide, according to back
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