The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends low-dose CT scans to screen high-risk patients for lung cancer.

National experts issue statement on lung cancer screening

30/Jul/2013

about ldcts

A landmark study has shown that low-dose CT scans (LDCTs) can reduce lung cancer deaths.

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The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently announced its recommendations for screening high-risk patients for lung cancer. Public comments on its draft statement will be considered until August 26.

Based on available evidence, the Task Force has called for screening people at high risk for lung cancer with annual low-dose CT scans (LDCTs), citing the potential to prevent a substantial number of lung cancer-related deaths. The recommendation applies to a specific subset of asymptomatic patients who:

  • are 55 to 80 years old
  • have a 30 "pack year" or greater history of smoking (a "pack year" means that someone has smoked an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for a year)
  • are either current smokers or have quit in the past 15 years

LDCTs for lung cancer are available for high-risk patients at Mass General Imaging locations in Waltham, Chelsea and Worcester on a self-pay basis. "The LDCT requires no preparation or injection, can be performed quickly and will be interpreted by dedicated thoracic radiologists who are experienced in diagnosing lung cancer," said Jo-Anne Shepard, MD, director of Thoracic Imaging and Intervention in the Mass General Department of Radiology. 

The Task Force is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that makes recommendations on clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services and preventive medications.

For more information, read the Task Force's draft recommendation statement and the recent article in MGH Hotline.