The Norman Transcript

Headlines

January 12, 2013

Cancer scans backed for smokers

NORMAN — After decades of qualms about lung cancer screening, the American Cancer Society says there now is enough evidence to recommend it, but only for current and former heavy smokers ages 55 to 74 and after a frank talk about risks and benefits.

The new guidelines, announced Friday, are a cautious but exciting step against the world’s most deadly cancer, doctors who wrote the advice say.

It is based on a big study in 2011 that found annual, low-dose CT scans — a type of X-ray — could cut the chances of dying of lung cancer by 20 percent and from any cause by nearly 7 percent.

The study only included older people who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or the equivalent, such as two packs a day for 15 years. Whether screening would help others isn’t known, so scans were not advised for them.

“We’re trying to make sure we restrict harm that might come from screening,” such as unneeded biopsies and follow-up procedures when scans falsely suggest cancer, said Dr. Richard Wender, family medicine chief at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Lung cancer is fairly rare before age 55, so “the benefits of screening are going to be less if you start at a younger age.”

Wender, a former Cancer Society president, led the guidelines panel. Three of its 20 members have ties to companies that make cancer treatment or imaging products. The scans cost $100 to as much as $400 and are not covered by Medicare or private insurers.

“We believe insurance companies should cover this test for the right people — not for everybody,” Wender said.

More than 160,000 people die of lung cancer in the United States alone each year, and the vast majority are diagnosed after the disease has spread.

Cancer screening has provoked great argument in recent years, especially over when and how often women should get mammograms and whether men should have PSA blood tests to look for prostate cancer.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Body 1 Police identify woman found dead Monday

    Norman police have identified a woman found dead in her home at 2202 Donna Drive Monday afternoon. Police responded at 1:25 p.m. to the residence of Cassandra Thompson, 30, after receiving a report that she had not shown up for work ...

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Residents speak out about document regarding shelter photos

    Norman and metro-area residents showed up in overwhelming numbers, many in red shirts, for an Animal Shelter Oversight Board meeting Monday night demanding for their opinions to be heard....

    July 29, 2014

  • Mixon’s attorney says athlete acted in self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense. “This past Friday morning, Joe Mixon found himself in a situation ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Police rule out homicide in Norman woman’s death

    Norman Police Capt. Todd Gibson said Tuesday they have eliminated the theory of homicide after a Norman woman was found dead in her home Monday afternoon. “We’re moving in a different direction with the investigation,” Gibson said. “It’s ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Moore resident lands in new home 14 months after tornado

    Moore — She crawled from the rubble of what used to be her home. The neighborhood was destroyed. It was the afternoon of May 20, 2013, and Jamie Baker was homeless....

    July 30, 2014

  • Additional details come to light in Campus Corner incident involving Sooner recruit

    The 911 call from Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe early Friday morning brought forth more details from the incident that has Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon under investigation for an alleged assault....

    July 30, 2014

  • Senate approves new VA secretary

    WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as the new Veterans Affairs secretary, with a mission to overhaul an agency beleaguered by long veterans’ waits for health care and VA ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Tampering accusations surface in OKC bombing case

    SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah lawyer suing the FBI over his public records request for surveillance videos from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing said Tuesday that one of his witnesses backed out after being visited by government officials last ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Shelter construction ongoing; residents voice concerns

    A regular quarterly meeting of the Animal Shelter Oversight Board prompted Norman residents to speak up about more than just a photo release issue Monday night involving Friends of the Animals of Norman volunteers and the city of Norman. ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Senate passes highway bill, sends it to House

    WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday voted to change the funding and timing of a House bill to keep federal highway funds flowing to states in an effort to force Congress to come to grips with chronic funding problems that have plagued ...

    July 30, 2014