Revamped ACS guidelines. Expanded lung cancer screening criteria

06.11.2023 posted by Admin

Expanded lung cancer screening. New ACS guidelines

An updated guideline from the American Cancer Society is expanding lung cancer screening recommendations, making it crucial for an additional nearly 5 million individuals to get screened. This update is aimed at older adults who have smoked in the past or are current smokers, regardless of how long ago they quit.

Previously, the American Cancer Society suggested annual lung cancer screening for individuals aged 55 to 74 with at least a 30 pack-year smoking history, whether they were current smokers or had quit within the last 15 years. However, the latest guideline emphasizes that the duration since quitting smoking should no longer determine eligibility for lung cancer screening.

In this fresh guideline, the American Cancer Society advises that both current and former smokers, aged 50 to 80, with a smoking history of at least 20 pack-years should undergo annual lung cancer screening. A pack-year means smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes daily for one year. For example, someone who smoked two packs a day for ten years or one pack a day for twenty years both have a 20 pack-year history.

Furthermore, the updated guideline from the American Cancer Society discourages the use of "years since quitting smoking" as a criterion for starting or stopping lung cancer screening in former smokers who meet the age and pack-year criteria.

Dr. William Dahut, the Chief Scientific Officer for the American Cancer Society, mentioned, "I think the years quit was confusing to people." He emphasized that the risk of lung cancer is highest for individuals in their 60s and above, making it essential to screen during this period.

Back in the 1940s, surveys indicated that approximately half of all adults in the U.S. were cigarette smokers. However, smoking rates began to decline in the 1960s, and in recent years, only about 11% of adults reported being current smokers, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Cancer Society estimates that its updated recommendation could prevent 21% more lung cancer deaths compared to the previous guidelines. The previous guideline had been updated in 2013.

The key change in the new guideline is the removal of the "years since quitting" factor for eligibility for lung cancer screening. Dr. Robert Smith, Senior Vice President of Early Cancer Detection Science at the American Cancer Society, explained that as long as an individual meets the age and pack-year criteria (between 50 and 80 years old with a 20 or greater pack-year history) and is in reasonably good health, they will be eligible for screening as per the updated guidelines.

It's worth noting that the American Cancer Society isn't the only organization providing cancer screening recommendations in the U.S. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a group of independent medical experts, issues separate screening advice. In 2021, this task force recommended annual lung cancer screening for adults aged 50 to 80 with a 20 pack-year smoking history, either current smokers or those who quit within the past 15 years.

Dr. Matthew Triplette, a pulmonologist and cancer prevention researcher, noted that the new American Cancer Society guidelines are backed by newer modeling evidence, indicating that the risk of lung cancer doesn't cease after 15 years of quitting smoking, and individuals with a significant smoking history should continue to be screened or become eligible for screening.

It's important to highlight that only about 10% to 15% of eligible individuals in the United States have undergone lung cancer screening, according to estimates.
Comments are temporarily unavailable

Your comment