Task force recommends new lung cancer screening guidelines

June 21, 2012

A lung screening and surveillance task force, established by the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) and led by medical professionals from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), is strongly recommending new guidelines for lung cancer screening. The guidelines were published this week in the online edition of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (JTCVS).

Recent research has shown low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is beneficial in reducing deaths from lung cancer. So the AATS recommends an annual lung cancer screening using LDCT for:

Smokers and former smokers between the ages of 55 and 79 who have smoked the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years. Smokers and former between the ages of 50 and 79 who have smoked the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years and have other factors that raise their risk of developing lung cancer. Long-term lung cancer survivors up to the age of 79 (to detect a second case of primary lung cancer).

David Sugarbaker, MD, the chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at BWH and president-elect of the AATS, conceived the idea of creating the guidelines. He said, "This work will result in a greater chance for patients stricken with early lung cancer to receive curative therapy."

These guidelines differ from the recommendations of other societies because they recommend screening for patients up to the age of 79. Other societies only recommend screening for patients up to the age of 74. These guidelines are also unique because they address lung cancer survivors. In total, under the AATS recommendations, 94 million Americans are now eligible for screening. The AATS task force recommends that screening should not be performed for individuals with conditions that would preclude successful treatment for lung cancer.

"Low-dose has been proven to save lives," said Francine Jacobson, MD, MPH, a thoracic at BWH and a co-chair of the task force. "I hope this recommendation will encourage physicians to use low-dose CT scanning for a broader range of patients."

Michael Jaklitsch, MD, a thoracic surgeon at BWH and a co-chair of the task force said, "Lung cancer is an epidemic with over a quarter of a million new cases each year. Now, for the first time in history, there is a clear screening tool that identifies early stages of , when treatment is most successful. Our analysis shows this tool of low-dose CT scans to be safe and very cost efficient. will save lives, save lungs and inspire many Americans to quit smoking."

The 14 member task force is made up of thoracic surgeons, thoracic radiologists, medical oncologists, a pulmonologist, a pathologist and an epidemiologist. They based their conclusion on a review of screening trials in the United States and Europe, an examination of current literature and discussions of clinical practices. The work of the task force was funded by the AATS.

Explore further: Lung cancer CT scans: Just for older heavy smokers

Related Stories

Lung cancer CT scans: Just for older heavy smokers

May 20, 2012
New lung cancer screening guidelines from three medical groups recommend annual scans but only for an older group of current or former heavy smokers.

Video-assisted thoracic surgery valuable tool in lung cancer screening

May 15, 2012
The most recent research released in June's Journal of Thoracic Oncology says video assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) is a valuable tool in managing lesions detected in a lung cancer screening program. The primary objective ...

Low-dose CT screening may benefit individuals at increased risk for lung cancer

May 20, 2012
Peter B. Bach, M.D., of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to examine the evidence regarding the benefits and harms of low-dose computerized tomography (LDCT) ...

Asymptomatic often sent for lung cancer screening tests

March 13, 2012
(HealthDay) -- A majority of primary care physicians report ordering lung cancer screening tests for asymptomatic patients, according to research published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Recommended for you

Defining optimal opioid pain medication prescription length following surgery

September 27, 2017
A new study led by researchers at the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital analyzed opioid prescription data from the Department of Defense Military Health System Data Repository, identifying ...

Is older blood OK to use in a transfusion?

September 27, 2017
(HealthDay)—Using older red blood cells to give transfusions to critically ill patients doesn't appear to affect their risk of dying, Australian researchers report.

One weight-loss surgery shows lasting results

September 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—Obesity surgery can have long-lasting effects on weight and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, a new study finds.

Hold the phone: An ambulance might lower your chances of surviving some injuries

September 20, 2017
Victims of gunshots and stabbings are significantly less likely to die if they're taken to the trauma center by a private vehicle than ground emergency medical services (EMS), according to results of a new analysis.

Surgeons have major influence on breast cancer treatment

September 13, 2017
A woman's choice of surgeon plays a significant role in whether she's likely to receive an increasingly popular aggressive breast cancer surgery.

Some thyroid cancer patients can safely delay surgery

September 4, 2017
Most people diagnosed with cancer want to start treatment as soon as possible, for fear that delaying care will allow their tumor to grow out of control.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.