Summary: USPSTF says screening patients at high risk for lung cancer with annual low-dose CT scans can prevent a substantial number of lung cancer related deaths.
July 29, 2013 - The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening people who are at high risk for lung cancer with annual low-dose CT scans, which can prevent a substantial number of lung cancer related deaths.
The USPSTF today posted its final evidence report and draft recommendation statement on screening for lung cancer. After reviewing the evidence, the task force determined that you can reach a reasonable balance of benefits and harms by screening people who are 55 to 80 years old and have a 30 pack year or greater history of smoking, who are either current smokers or have quit in the past fifteen years. A “pack year” means that someone has smoked an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for a year. For example, a person reaches 30 pack years of smoking history by smoking a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years.
Siemens Healthcare today released a statement that it supports the USPSTF’s final evidence report and draft recommendation statement regarding CT screening for lung cancer.
“The USPSTF recommendation reinforces the clinical and economic value of accurate and timely diagnosis,” said Gregory Sorensen, MD, CEO of Siemens Healthcare North America. “Lung cancer is one of the most prevalent and deadly cancers, and accurate and timely diagnosis is essential to helping clinicians and patients fight this devastating disease.”
The evidence reviewed by the USPSTF identified smoking as the biggest risk factor for developing lung cancer, resulting in about 85% of lung cancers in the United States. The risk for developing lung cancer also increases with age, with most lung cancers occurring in people age 55 or older.
“The more you smoke over time, the more at risk you are for lung cancer. When deciding who should be screened, clinicians will need to assess the person’s age, overall health, how much the person has smoked, and whether the person is still smoking or how many years it has been since the person quit,” says Task Force co-vice chair Michael LeFevre, MD, MSPH. “This evaluation will help clinicians decide whether it may be beneficial to screen a given person.”
“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and a devastating diagnosis for more than two hundred thousand people each year,” says Task Force chair Virginia Moyer, MD, MPH. “Sadly, nearly 90% of people who develop lung cancer die from the disease, in part because it often is not found until it is at an advanced stage. By screening those at high risk, we can find lung cancer at earlier stages when it is more likely to be treatable.”
The Task Force’s draft recommendation statement has been posted for public comment on the Task Force Web site at www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org. Comments can be submitted from July 30 to August 26 at http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/tfcomment.htm.
For more information: www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/tfcomment.htm and www.appliedradiology.com