(HealthDay News) — Adoption of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening regimens, as outlined in the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), could potentially prevent more than 12,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year, according to research published online Feb. 25 in Cancer.

Jiemin Ma, Ph.D., M.H.S., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues estimated the annual number of lung cancer deaths that could be averted by LDCT screening, assuming implementation of the screening regimens adopted in the NLST. The estimates were based on the screening effect, the U.S. population size, screening eligibility prevalence, and the lung-cancer mortality rate among the population eligible for screening.

The researchers found that, in 2010, approximately 8.6 million Americans (5.2 million men and 3.4 million women) were eligible for lung cancer screening. Full implementation of the screening regimen adopted in the NLST would potentially avert 12,250 lung cancer deaths each year (8,990 in men and 3,260 in women).

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“We estimated that approximately 12,000 lung cancer deaths could potentially be averted per year through the full implementation of LDCT screening among eligible heavy smokers in the United States, based on our current knowledge of screening,” the authors write. “Further studies are needed to estimate the number of avertable lung cancer deaths and the cost-effectiveness of LDCT screening under different scenarios of risk, various screening frequencies, and various screening uptake rates.”

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