ALA Recommends High-Risk Smokers be Screened for Lung Cancer

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(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.

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

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