Are Lung Cancer Survivors Getting Too Many Costly Scans for No Reason? Study Suggests So

“Once you’ve made it through lung cancer treatment, you want to make sure you catch it early if it comes back again.

“But a new study suggests that one approach to watching for a cancer’s return is being inappropriately used at many hospitals. And it isn’t helping patients survive longer, the research shows. The findings are published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“The study looked at how often survivors of lung and esophageal cancer went through a kind of imaging called PET scanning as the primary way of monitoring their condition, instead of as a backstop to other kinds of scans.

“PET scans are expensive, but potentially powerful. They let doctors see increased activity by cells inside the body — including fast-growing cancer cells — and can do so early. Many cancer patients receive PET scans as part of diagnosis, to see how advanced their cancer is, and to see how it’s responding to treatment.”