New technology helps lung cancer patients

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The American Lung Association reports that more than 225,000 people will be told they have lung cancer this year.

Now, new technology is helping doctors to detect cancer earlier, giving patients a greater chance of survival. 

Dr. David k. Madtes of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance says low dose CT scans can track cancer in its earliest stages. “A cancer as small as one centimeter can be detected, so that's about a half of an inch.”  

Doctors say X-rays can only detect tumors of more than an inch and regular CT scans can put patients at risk for developing other cancers, exposing them to eight units of radiation.

With this low dose scan, exposure can drop to two units.

Dr. Madtes says, “It's about the amount of exposure we all have to atmospheric radiation over the course of one year.” 

Detecting lung cancer at its earliest stage and having it removed can increase a patient’s five-year survival rate to 70 percent.

Experts recommend that anyone who is a heavy smoker receive a low dose CT scan and emphasize that the best way to beat lung cancer is to not smoke at all.

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