We hear all the time how important early detection is. So, you might wonder as common and as critical as lung cancer is. Why not just screen for it? A new government report explains why that just won't work with lung cancer.
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute poured over data from a 1970s study that screened about nine thousand smokers for thirty years. As expected, they found lots of tumors.
But, a lot of tumors are not cancerous. So, the problem is finding a tumor that is no big deal can still bring a lot of worry and unnecessary medical care on the road to learning that it's a bump you can live with.
"Those tests aren't necessarily without risks often to find, more often than not actually, to find that abnormality was not cancer," said Dr. Pamela Marcus, of the National Cancer Institution.
Even so, there are doctors who argue that any lung tumor should be tested to find out what it is. So, for now, there is no lung cancer screening as the controversy continues since it's a question of whether finding out early means a better chance of survival or more time to worry about something that wasn't dangerous after all.