(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Based on results of the recent National Cancer Institute National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST), the American Lung Association (ALA) has released new interim guidelines recommending that high-risk smokers receive lung cancer screening.

Specifically, the ALA recommends that people meeting the following NLST criteria be screened with low-dose CT scans:

  • a current or former smoker (former smokers having quit within the past 15 years)
  • and in the age group from 55 to 74 years
  • and with a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (1 pack/day for 30 years, 2 packs per day for 15 years, etc.)
  • and no history of lung cancer.

The NLST found low-dose CT to be a promising clinical strategy for detecting presymptomatic lung cancer in individuals at the highest risk for lung cancer, reducing mortality by 20% vs. patients randomized to chest x-rays. The ALA emphasizes that only CT scans are recommended and that chest X-rays should not be used for lung cancer screening.

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The NLST findings have already led to widespread use of CT for lung cancer screening. Other ALA recommendations include referring patients to facilities that have experience in conducting low-dose CT scans and which employ multidisciplinary teams that can provide comprehensive follow-up.

The ALA “also implores hospitals and screening centers to establish ethical policies for advertising and promoting lung cancer CT screening services.”

ALA Website