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Clinical Notes
June 22, 1964

X-ray Examination of the Chest: An Unsatisfactory Method of Detection of Early Lung Cancer in Asymptomatic Individuals

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota.

JAMA. 1964;188(12):1082-1083. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060380050016

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IN THE MEDICAL LITERATURE of the past several years there have been a number of communications cautioning against the increasing medical use of irradiation. Several authorities have warned of "indiscriminate" use of x-rays in diagnosis and especially in screening programs undertaken for the purpose of early detection of cancer of the lung.

Basic to the evaluation of such screening programs, as well as to the evaluation of such criticisms, however, is some assessment of the presumption that radiologic chest examinations have merit in the detection of early or asymptomatic lung cancer. In spite of rather widespread acceptance of this presumption, there appears to be little evidence offered as proof.

Conclusions drawn from series of cases comprised of both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, doubtless, have been responsible for much of the existing confusion regarding the value of x-ray examination as a screening measure in groups of symptom-free persons. The diagnostic usefulness

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