Facts about lung cancer screening

  • The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) showed a reduction in deaths from low-dose CT screening compared to CXR screening. (CXR screening is known to be ineffective at reducing deaths from lung cancer.)
  • 53,454 current and former smokers who quit within the past 15 years, 55-74 years of age, with at least 30 pack-years of smoking were randomly assigned to be screened once a year for 3 years with low-dose CT or CXR.
  • Participants must have had no symptoms or signs of lung cancer or other serious medical conditions, and be medically fit for surgery. After 6.5 years of follow-up there were 3 in 1,000 fewer lung cancer deaths in the CT screening group, on average. (21 in 1,000 lung cancer deaths in the CXR group vs. 18 in 1,000 in the CT group.)
  • These findings represent an average benefit, and benefits actually vary dramatically. Consider the benefit for sample patients on the following pages.