16 Mar USPSTF: New Recommendations Double Number of People Eligible for Lung Cancer Screening
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
John B. Wong, M.D.
Chief Scientific Officer,
Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs
Chief of the Division of Clinical Decision Making
Primary Care Clinician
Department of Medicine
Tufts Medical Center
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States. More than 200,000 people are diagnosed with this devastating disease each year. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, resulting in the vast majority of lung cancers in the United States.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: New evidence showed that screening can help even more people who are at high risk for lung cancer live longer, healthier lives. With this new evidence, the Task Force is recommending that clinicians offer lung cancer screening for people between the ages of 50 and 80 years old who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. This new recommendation nearly doubles the number of people now eligible for screening as compared to the Task Force’s 2013 final recommendation.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The most important risk factor for lung cancer is smoking, and the best way to prevent lung cancer is to quit.
Healthcare providers can help prevent deaths from lung cancer by providing yearly screening for people who are between the ages of 50 and 80 and who are at high risk of lung cancer because of their smoking history.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: We need more evidence on the balance of benefits and harms of screening in diverse communities including racial and ethnic minorities and socially and economically disadvantaged people, for whom smoking prevalence and lung cancer incidence are higher. A second major research gap is how best to encourage healthcare providers to discuss lung cancer screening with their patients, especially minority and vulnerable populations.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: This new final recommendation means more people are eligible to get screened. Implementing lung cancer screening equitably is critical to reducing deaths from lung cancer. Our recommendation includes specific changes in who should get screened that will be especially helpful to more Black people and women who will now have the opportunity to be eligible for lung cancer screening, which is a step in the right direction.
Jonas DE, Reuland DS, Reddy SM, et al. Screening for Lung Cancer With Low-Dose Computed Tomography: Updated Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA. 2021;325(10):971–987. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.0377
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