Feb 25, 2013 1:44 PM by NBC News

Smokers may benefit from lung cancer screenings

Screening past and present smokers for lung cancer could save thousands of lives each year.

Researchers estimate more than 8.5 million Americans with a history of smoking could be eligible for a low dose CT scan.

Based on those numbers, they found the test could potentially prevent or delay 12,000 lung cancer deaths each year.

Despite these encouraging findings, experts aren't sure if national policies on lung cancer screenings will change because of the high rate of false positives as well as the cost of these scans.