NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- At Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven saving lives involves a team approach, in which the patient undergoes a thorough evaluation, which or may not include a screening chest CT scan.
The CT ballroom at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven is where CT scans are analyzed.
"Most of the ones that we look at are more rounded and this one has a little bit of a funny shape," said Dr. Frank Detterbeck.
"Yes, it is a funny shape," said Dr. Ann Curtis.
Thoracic surgeon Dr. Frank Detterbeck, and radiologist Dr. Ann Curtis are pointing out a suspicious mass that needs close monitoring.
Dr. Detterbeck said, "if you meet criteria that make you pretty high risk then I think we have good data that it's going to be a net benefit for you. But if you don't really meet high risk, you may be much better off, not getting screened."
He is a senior author of a study that looked at all the evidence available on the benefits of a low dose screening chest CT scan in preventing lung cancer deaths.
However, Dr. Detterbeck says a scan is not always the answer.
"You may be better off avoiding radiation, avoiding finding a little something that gets you all worried, but it's just a little something," said Dr. Detterbeck. "Having a biopsy or something done for some little, something that you know would have been better if we hadn't even known about it."
That's why a team approach to screening is in place at Smilow.
Amanda Reid, who's with the Yale Lung Screening and Nodule program said, "it's the other individuals with other risk factors that are not identified by that study that really need to have this one on one risk evaluation counseling."
While smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer, Dr. Detterbeck says more needs to be done to understand the other risks, so that more lives can be saved.
Dr. Detterbeck is confident that in the next three years screening guidelines will be more refined.
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