Adequate evidence suggests that annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in current and former smokers aged 55–79 years who have significant cumulative tobacco smoke exposure can prevent a substantial number of lung cancer deaths, according to draft guidelines issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
According to USPSTF, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Currently or formerly smoking is attributed as a cause of about 85% of all lung cancer cases, and approximately 37% of U.S. adults are current or former smokers, although the prevalence is declining. Because lung cancer is often not diagnosed until its later stages, about 90% of patients die from the disease. However, early identification of lung cancer in high-risk individuals through LDCT increases the possibility of surgical treatment, which improves prognosis and outcomes.
USPSTF issued the draft recommendations in July 2013 and is currently seeking public comment on them. If you’d like to weigh in, visit the guidelines and follow the links on the right to submit your comments. The deadline for comments is August 26, 2013.