Despite lung cancer screening guidelines for smokers being issued in 2013, the rate of lung cancer screening is abysmally low with only about 3% of eligible smokers undergoing low-dose CT lung cancer screening. The USPTFS guidelines are for long term smokers with a 30-pack year history or more of smoking who are between 55 and 80 years of age. Many early lung cancers detected on screening exams can be treated with an 85% cure rate, yet most cancers today are still diagnosed at a late stage with minimal survival. There are approximately 7 million smokers eligible for screening, but only 210,000 are being screened annually as recommended. Under the USPFS guidelines, 12,000 deaths could be avoided each year with screening. With expanded risk-based guidelines, another 5,000 lung cancer deaths could be avoided. Unfortunately, most long-term smokers are not made aware of and do not receive life-saving screening.
A woman's decision about when to start breast cancer screening mammograms should be a matter of personal choice, not association guidelines. A recent study in Cancer looked at the differences in likely outcomes of various breast cancer screening guidelines. Screening mammography recommendations for early detection of breast cancer still differ between medical associations that advocate annual breast cancer screening starting at age 40, the American College of Radiology and the American Cancer Society, and others that recommend starting biennial screening starting at 50, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force and the American Academy of Family Practice. The screening recommendation a woman receives unfortunately depends on who is giving it rather than the patient. This study provides information that a woman should know when deciding which breast cancer screening strategy is right for her:
CT Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines could detect 54,900 more lung cancer cases during a 5 year period if covered by Medicare. Most cancers would be diagnosed at an earlier more treatable stage. In fact, the number of early stage cancer diagnoses would double from 15% to 33%, while the number of patients diagnosed with advanced cancers would decrease from 57% to 40%. Seventeen percent (17%) fewer patients died from lung cancer in the screening group compared with the non-screening group. Medscape Medical News reported that Joshua A. Roth, PhD, MHA told attendees at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology of these cost estimates. However, Medicare has yet to decide whether or not to cover the new screening guidelines from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)