Skip to content
Subscriber Only

America’s Heaviest Smokers Don’t Want to Know if They Have Cancer

Screening could save 12,000 lives annually, but fewer than 2 percent of those eligible take advantage of it.
Video player cover image
The Technology That's Replacing Your Nicotine Hit

Sometimes you just don’t want to know, even when your life may hang in the balance.

A new study found that fewer than 2 percent of heavy smokers in the U.S. get recommended lung cancer screenings, an imaging test that can catch tumors when they are small and potentially curable. The numbers fall far short of screening for other types of cancer, including mammograms and colonoscopies—both procedures that are much more uncomfortable than the CT scan used to detect tiny tumors in the lungs.