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A cancer screening flop: Few smokers seek free lung scans

May 16, 2018

Lung cancer screening has proved to be stunningly unpopular. New research shows that five years after government and private insurers started paying for it, less than 2 percent of eligible current and former smokers have sought the free scans.

That’s way below the 60 percent to 80 percent rates for breast, colon or cervical cancer screening.

The study didn’t explore why, but experts say possible explanations include worries about false alarms and follow-up tests, a doctor visit to get the scans covered, fear and denial of the consequences of smoking, and little knowledge that screening exists.

The study was released Wednesday by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

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