Who Should Be Screened for Lung Cancer?

Lung can­cer is the lead­ing cause of can­cer-relat­ed death in the Unit­ed States. It has the low­est five-year sur­vival rate at only 18 per­cent over­all, espe­cial­ly when com­pared to breast, prostate and col­orec­tal cancers.

How­ev­er, when diag­nosed ear­ly, lung can­cer is more like­ly to be cur­able, with sur­vival rates jump­ing to near­ly 60 per­cent ver­sus 6% when diag­nosed at a late stage. Addi­tion­al­ly, smok­ing is esti­mat­ed to account for about 90 per­cent of all lung can­cer cas­es, with the rel­a­tive risk of lung can­cer being 20 times high­er in smok­ers than nonsmokers.

As a result, lung can­cer screen­ings for cur­rent and for­mer smok­ers are crit­i­cal to the ear­ly detec­tion of lung can­cer, lead­ing to bet­ter out­comes and saved lives. Recent­ly, the rec­om­mend­ed cri­te­ria for lung can­cer screen­ings were updat­ed. The U.S. Pre­ven­tive Ser­vices Task Force, an inde­pen­dent vol­un­teer pan­el of experts in dis­ease pre­ven­tion, now rec­om­mends lung can­cer screen­ings1 for men and women who meet all of the fol­low­ing requirements:

  • 50 to 80 years old
  • Cur­rent cig­a­rette smok­er or a per­son who quit smok­ing cig­a­rettes with­in the last 15 years
  • Have a smok­ing his­to­ry of at least 20 pack-years
  • (A pack-year is cal­cu­lat­ed by mul­ti­ply­ing the aver­age num­ber of packs smoked per day by the num­ber of years. For exam­ple, 2 packs per day for 20 years = 40 pack-years)
  • Have no cur­rent signs or symp­toms of lung cancer

Lung can­cer screen­ing at DuPage Med­ical Group is a com­pre­hen­sive pro­gram. Patients who qual­i­fy will first see a provider who will explain all aspects of screen­ing and assess the patient’s will­ing­ness to under­go addi­tion­al test­ing if an abnor­mal­i­ty is found. If the patient would like to con­tin­ue, an order for a low-dose CT scan (LDCT) will be pro­vid­ed. This exam is very sim­ple and typ­i­cal­ly takes less than 10 min­utes to com­plete. Patients then need an annu­al scan until they pass the age of 80 or until it has been more than 15 years since they quit smoking.

If you have ques­tions regard­ing lung can­cer screen­ings or would like to sched­ule an appoint­ment with your provider, please sched­ule an appointment today.

1https://​www​.uspre​ven​tiveser​vices​task​force​.org/​u​s​p​s​t​f​/​r​e​c​o​m​m​e​n​d​a​t​i​o​n​/​l​u​n​g​-​c​a​n​c​e​r​-​s​c​r​e​e​n​i​n​g​#​b​o​o​t​s​t​r​a​p​-​panel – 4

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