To Screen or Not to Screen: Using Spiral Computerized Tomography in the Early Detection of Lung Cancer
Early-stage lung cancers are the most amenable to treatment. Historically, computerized tomography (CT) has been used to detect the presence of lung and other types of cancer. A new type of CT scanner, known as a spiral or helical scanner, can image the entire lung area in 20-30 seconds and produce three-dimensional images. Spiral CT scanning is noninvasive, rapid, and able to diagnose conditions with limited patient discomfort. Although some studies suggest that spiral CT scanners are able to detect potentially cancerous lung nodules at an early stage, their use as a mass screening method for lung cancer is not endorsed by many researchers or the Society of Thoracic Radiology. Studies are in progress to determine the most clinically effective, costeffective, and efficient method for detecting early-stage lung cancer.