CT Lung Screening – New recommendations for heavy smokers
Early detection of lung cancer
Recent research from the National Cancer Institute National Lung Cancer Screening Trial has shown that low-dose CT (computed tomography) screening can reduce deaths from lung cancer by 20 percent compared to x-ray. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for women and men in the United States. Patients diagnosed with lung cancer have a five-year survival rate of only 15 percent. CT screening can catch nodules in the lungs that are too small to be seen on x-rays. At this early stage, cancers are potentially more curable.
Who should be screened?
The American Lung Association has endorsed this prevention
strategy and recommends CT scans for people who meet the
following risk criteria: *
- current or former smokers with a 30 pack-year history
- men and women ages 55 to 74
- no history of lung cancer
The American Association for Thoracic Surgery has broader
recommendations that referring physicians may want to follow:
- current or former smokers with a 30 pack-year history – men and women ages 55 to 79
- current or former smokers with a 20 pack-year history who have additional risk of developing lung cancer – men and women ages 50 and older
- long term lung cancer survivors should have annual screenings through age 79
The CT lung screening procedure requires a physician referral.