Recommended Tests For Lung Cancer Screening

According to the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) people who are current smokers (or have quit within the last 15 years) aged 55 to 79 years old who have a smoking history of 30 pack-years or greater. A “pack-year” means that someone has smoked an average of 1 pack of cigarettes per day for a year. For example, a person who has smoked a pack a day for 30 years has a 30 pack-year history of smoking, as does a person who smoked 2 packs a day for 15 years should receive a low-dose CT scan every year. This recommendation remains less aggressive than the former standards of more than a decade ago that recommended a screening chest x-ray as part of an annual physical beginning at age 50 and at age 40 for smokers.

Help Is Available For Smokers Who Want To Quit

These prior recommendations were eroded by the belief that such tests were not cost efficient and thus many insurers refuse to pay for routine screening. Screening, however, is not a substitute for quitting smoking. The most effective way anyone can reduce their risk of lung cancer is to avoid tobacco. If you smoke and want help quitting, see the American Cancer Society Guide to Quitting Smoking. You can also visit the Mayo Clinic pages on Lung Cancer.