(CTN News) – It is estimated that more than 127,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States every year, making it the country’s most lethal cancer.
Earlier this week, the American Cancer Society published an update to its lung cancer screening recommendations, which expands the pool of current and former smokers who should be screened for lung cancer every year, starting at the age of 50.
As the chief scientific officer of the American Cancer Society, Dr. William Dahut says early detection of lung cancer is of the utmost importance.
Currently, there are so many new treatments for lung cancer available, so many new targeted therapies, that the chance of surviving a lung cancer diagnosis if done at an early stage is so much higher,” Dahut explains.
According to the new recommendations, the age range for the testing has been extended to between 50 and 80 years of age. In the past, there had been an age range of 55 to 74.
A barrier that prevents former smokers from being screened is also being removed by the group. It used to be the case that if you quit smoking more than 15 years ago, you didn’t necessarily need to be tested if you stopped smoking more than 15 years ago.
It appears that even those who quit 40 years ago may now be eligible for screening even if they quit 40 years ago.
It should be noted that screening is reserved for current smokers and people who have smoked heavily in the past within that range of age. Generally, this is defined as consuming at least one pack of cigarettes a day for the past 20 years.
Nevertheless, the American Cancer Society has developed a “pack year” measurement to measure how heavy a smoker’s smoking has become over time.
Under the new guidelines, an individual who smokes two packs a day for a 10-year period is considered to have smoked 20 “pack years” and should be screened yearly starting at the age of 50, if they have smoked that many packs.
Based on the new guidelines, the ACS estimates that an additional 5 million Americans will need to be scanned. In the screening test, a low-dose computed tomography scan (also referred to as a low-dose computed tomography scan, or LDCT) is performed.
The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 238,340 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed in 2023 (117,550 in men and 120,790 in women).
When people become symptomatic of cancer, treatment options can be limited, so screening offers a better chance for new treatment options to be effective prior to when people become symptomatic.
You can get lung cancer at any age, regardless of your gender or race. Despite this, lung cancer is most often found in older people, as most people diagnosed with the disease are 65 or older, according to the American Cancer Society.