Using routine chest X-rays to hunt lung cancer falsely alarms a large number of healthy people, but when tumors are found they tend to be in their early stages, say preliminary results of the biggest study ever to deal with lung-cancer screening.
The next question is whether the screening leads to fewer deaths, a key to efforts to improve early detection of the nation's top &to=http://english.pravda.ru/fun/2001/11/19/21384.html' target=_blank>cancer killer. An answer remains years away.
More than 172,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. Most will die within two years because this stealth cancer almost always is diagnosed at advanced stages. Catch lung tumors early, and five-year survival skyrockets, but there is no proven early-screening method.
Studies during the 1970s concluded that X-ray screening didn't save lives, either because they didn't catch the deadliest tumors soon enough or needlessly put patients with slow-growing tumors through risky surgery or other treatments.