Chest CT scan for diagnosis of pulmonary diseases

By Friday August 10th, 2012Articles

Among tumours lung cancer has the most casualties in the world. Every seventh cancer patient dies due to lung cancer (approximately 1.1 million per year). It is particularly common in men, but the mortality rate also steeply increases in women.

Our country is in particularly bad situation, we are world leaders in terms of this disease. Taking into account the population no other country has such a high number of patients. While in 1970 only 24.5 of 100,000 inhabitants had bronchial cancer, in 2005 this number was 65. This ratio could not have been decreased since then. Moreover, while internationally 10-15% of patients survives for 5 years after diagnosis, in Hungary the figure is only about 8-10%. That is: 90 per cent of lung cancer patients die due to that disease. This represents 10,000 people per year – equivalent to the number of tuberculosis deaths previously. Last year, 8,500 people were died in our country due to lung cancer, and 10 thousand new cases were registered.

The reason why this cancer develops is not exactly known. Genetics and external ailments may also be involved. However, it is primarily associated with smoking: according to U.S. data, 85 per cent of lung cancer patients is active smoker and 5 per cent is passive smoker. There is evidence that, smoking a pack of cigarettes per day causes a tenfold (men) or five-fold (women) increase in the risk of lung cancer. Quitting is the key element of prevention. In addition, other measures can be taken, for example early detection can save lives. Only one-fifth of lung cancer patients are operable and high life expectancy and good quality of life are largely dependent on when the tumour was discovered. Based on the statistical data it can be concluded that approx. 20-25 per cent (30 per cent in some years) of patients identified with lung screening are operable, thus they are much more likely to heal than those who are diagnosed when they have symptoms or based on accidental discovery.

At the time of introduction of lung screening several decades back in time its purpose was to detect the presence of TB. Nowadays it is no longer mandatory – it is officially ordered if the number of new cases exceeds 25 in 100,000 population. Many times screening for tuberculosis discovered and discovers today other diseases, such as lung cancer. However, in most cases the disease process is at an advanced stage by the time it can be detected on the chest radiograph. A chest CT scan is significantly more effective than chest X-ray, as can detect a lesion of only a few millimetres in the lung parenchyma in the transverse sectional slices.  Today it works with low radiation dose. This type of chest examination is advisable to be carried out in all high-risk persons (active and passive smokers and family history of lung cancer). You should attend this painless test, since the lung cancer at early stages that is surgically resectable can be detected by this screening. In contrast to conventional chest X-ray, a CT scan helps not only with the discovery of the cancer, but also with diagnosis of other lung disease.