On 30th December 2013 the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) endorsed the use of annual low dose CT scans for the screening of heavy smokers for the early detection of lung cancer.
The endorsement followed the 2011 publication of the results from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST). The NLST was a randomised controlled trial conducted in the United States, involving 53,454 current and former heavy smokers aged 55 to 74 years. The study, which was published in 2011, found a 20% reduction in mortality from lung cancer with annual screening with LDCT compared to those screened with chest radiography across three screening rounds, and a 6.7% reduction in all-cause mortality in the LDCT screened group.
The trial results are compelling as this was the first trial to actually look at reducing the mortality rate of lung cancer. The trial enrolled almost 55,000 current and previous heavy smokers and compared annual low dose CT scans with a normal chest x-ray over three consecutive years.
The study highlighted the importance of annual screening for both current smokers and those who had quit smoking within the last 15 years. It also identified that the benefit of annual screening with low dose CT scans outweighed any risks associated with annual screening when performed on heavy smokers who had at least a 30 pack year history and were aged between 55-80 years of age.
The trial showed an equal benefit for both male and female current and previous heavy smokers.
Medscan is now performing low dose CT screening scans on current and previous smokers.
Scanners at both our Double Bay and Barangaroo rooms utilize state of the art dose reduction techniques allowing us to perform low dose CT at dose equivalent to 1-2 standard X-Rays. (This is 1/50-1/100 of the dose of other CT scanners)
These scans can be medicare rebateable if referred by your GP.