Does lung cancer screening actually work?

Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD
Emergency Medicine
Nothing is more effective for reducing lung cancer deaths than smoking cessation.  However, for those that are at high risk  (those who meet all THREE criteria; are ages 55-74, have a 30 pack-year history of smoking, and currenly still smoke or quit in the last 15 years), annual screening with low-dose chest CT has been shown to have a 20% reduction in mortality from lung cancer due to earlier diagosis.
Lung cancer screening is a highly controversial subject with respected experts on both sides of the argument. However, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recently released a draft recommendation addressing annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (commonly known as a CT or CAT scan) in persons at high risk for lung cancer.  This high risk group is defined as current and former smokers ages 55 to 79 years who have significant cumulative tobacco smoke exposure.  In this group of patients, they found that the screening CT scan can prevent a substantial number of lung cancer deaths.  There is currently not a recommendation for lung cancer screening in non-smokers of any age or in smokers younger than 55 or older than 79 years of age.

Continue Learning about Lung Cancer Diagnosis & Screening

Lung Cancer Diagnosis & Screening

Lung Cancer Diagnosis & Screening

Lung cancer screenings have shown significant decrease in mortality rates for those at risk of developing lung cancer. While there is no set schedule for screenings for those at low risk of developing lung cancer, a computerized t...

omography (CT) screening is typically recommended fo people over 50 with a history of smoking 20 years or more, as well as for those who have been exposed to toxins or harmful radiation. Learn more about lung cancer diagnosis and screening with expert advice from Sharecare.

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