By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that CT scans can save the lives of heavy smokers.

The study of 54,000 current or former heavy smokers showed that those screened for lung cancer with a CT scan had a 20-percent reduction in deaths from lung cancer compared to the group receiving chest x-rays. Dr. Walter Scott, Chief of Thoracic Surgical Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, says the scans found nodules earlier so follow up care started sooner.

“It’s exciting, because lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in America and increasingly, in the world, and while smoking rates are going down here, they’re going up in most other parts of the world,” says Dr. Scott.

He admits most of the nodules found with the scans were not cancerous, but follow up care was needed to determine that, and insurance companies won’t pay for these screenings.

Reported by Lynne Adkins, KYW Newsradio

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