New Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines Expand Recommended Use of Low-Dose CT

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(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – The American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) has issued guidelines for lung cancer screening using low-dose computed tomography scans for groups at high risk of developing lung cancer and survivors of lung cancer. The guidelines were published in the July 2012 issue of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

The 14-member task force—which includes thoracic surgeons, thoracic radiologists, medical oncologists, a pulmonologist, a pathologist, and an epidemiologist—that created the guidelines recommends annual lung cancer screening using low-dose computed tomography for:

  • Current and former smokers aged 55 to 79 years with a 30 pack-year history of smoking
  • Current and former smokers aged 50 to 79 years with a 20 pack-year history if there is an additional cumulative risk of developing lung cancer of 5% or greater over the following 5 years
  • Long-term lung cancer survivors until age 79 years (to detect second primary lung cancer)

These guidelines differ from those of other societies in that they recommend screening for patients up to the age of 79—vs 74—years and also address lung cancer survivors. Using the AATS recommendations, 94 million Americans are now eligible for screening, which requires participation by a subspecialty-qualified team, the study noted.

The AATS task force does not recommend screening for individuals with conditions that would preclude successful treatment for lung cancer. The AATS plans to continue to engage with other specialty societies to refine future screening guidelines.


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