If I'm at high risk for lung cancer, how often should I get screened?

Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD
Emergency Medicine
The USPTF, American College of Chest Physicians, and American Cancer Society recommend that you get annual screening if you are at high risk (patients 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).
After you have had a series of scans over a few years and they were negative, we would recommend biannual screening. It's similar to a colonoscopy; if nothing is found, you return for screening in five years, but if you have a polyp, it will be removed and then the test will be repeated in three years. For lung cancer, the situation is similar. In general, if you’ve had scans that were negative for a few years, you can spread out the interval for screening. But I wouldn't recommend more than two years between lung cancer screenings for high-risk individuals.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.