Tuesday, August 16, 2005

CT Scans for Lung Cancer, part 2

The New York Times has an article today called "What an Extra Eye on Cancer Can Do for You," which discusses CT scans for lung cancer screening, and states that the United States Preventive Services Task Force has refused to endorse the method of screening. The article explains, "Before any screening method is endorsed by the task force and covered by insurers, including Medicare, it must be shown to be both safe and beneficial, and the benefits must outweigh risks. The main concern is that no study has yet proved that detecting early lung cancers with CT scans improves long-term survival." The piece also indicates that false-positive rates from the scans can be from 3%-50%, although they do not cite the studies that produced these findings. The USPSTF's recommendation statement elaborates on the concerns and insufficient evidence regarding the potential benefits and risks for approving the procedure.

On an unrelated note, why don't online news articles such as the NYTimes piece provide these links (such as to the USPSTF) themselves? I know that newspaper articles don't typically provide a bibliography of sources, but would it be so hard, if you already have the resources to write your article, to link to the agencies and studies? Research findings are so often oversimplified in news articles, it would be nice to have pointer to the original source.
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