Lung Cancer Q & A
WebMD Live Events Transcript
Lung cancer is the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths for men and women in America. In light of the recent death of news anchor Peter Jennings and the announcement by Christopher Reeve's widow, Dana, WebMD Live invited Peter Shields, MD, from the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University to answer your questions lung cancer. He was our guest on Aug. 18, 2005.
The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.
Welcome, Dr. Shields. The death of Peter Jennings and the announcement of Dana Reeve's diagnosis has taken a lot of people by surprise, but it really shouldn't.
There is no question that quitting substantially reduces your risk, compared to continued smoking, and at every age it is a real benefit to quit smoking. But unfortunately, that risk does not go down to as if you never smoked.
Lung cancer remains silent for a long period, and that's when it can be small enough to do something about.
Having said that, at the current time it's not recommended to have a CAT scan for lung cancer screening, even for smokers. But if you're having symptoms related to the lung, then a physician might consider a CAT scan is indicated.
At the current time, we do not know if we are hurting people, because of false positives, more than helping them. There's a large national clinical trial of over 60,000 smokers and ex-smokers so we may know more in a few years.
But at the current time, most of the major organizations who are knowledgeable about cancer screening do not recommend X-rays or CAT scans for smokers.
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