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CT Scans for Lung Cancer Result in Few False-Positives

Concerns that wider adoption of the screen might lead to unnecessary surgeries are unfounded

THURSDAY, Oct. 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Surgical intervention for a non-lung cancer diagnosis is rare following low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening for lung cancer, according to a study published in the October issue of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Researchers at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Mass., tracked outcomes for 1,654 patients. The patients underwent low-dose CT screening for lung cancer at the hospital between 2012 and mid-2014.

The research team said that -- if deemed suspicious -- the results of the CT screen were assessed by a multidisciplinary group of experts, which included surgeons, who gave recommendations as to next steps. Overall, 25 of the patients screened underwent a surgery because of the results of the CT scan. Of those, 20 were diagnosed as having lung cancer and 18 of them had an early stage of the cancer.

"Surgical intervention for a non-lung cancer diagnosis was rare -- five out of 1,654 patients or 0.3 percent," study co-leader Bryan Walker said in a news release from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. "That incidence is comparable to the 0.62 percent rate found in the National Lung Screening Trial that helped secure screening coverage in the U.S.," he explained.

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