USPSTF Issues New Lung Cancer Screening Recommendations

Annual screening recommended for patients between the ages of 50 to 80 who have a 20 pack-year smoking history

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) updated its recommendation statement for annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) to include a broader patient base.

The USPSTF recommends annual lung cancer screening with LDCT in adults aged 50 to 80 years who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Screening should be discontinued once a person has not smoked for 15 years or develops a health problem that substantially limits life expectancy or the ability or willingness to have curative lung surgery.

RSNA applauds this change, which has potential to mitigate racial disparities in screening eligibility.

“RSNA is committed to improving patient care and increasing health equity,” said Jeffrey S. Klein, MD, a renowned expert in lung cancer detection and staging, and the RSNA Board of Directors liaison for publications and communications. “Expanding the guidelines to include a broader, more diverse patient base is an important step to protect the health of vulnerable populations.”

The new guidelines would expand the relative screening eligibility by 87% overall, including 107% in non-Hispanic Black adults and 112% in Hispanic adults, according to the USPSTF statement. Additionally, the relative percentage of women eligible for screening would increase by 96%.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. In 2020, an estimated 228,820 persons were diagnosed with lung cancer, and 135,720 persons died of the disease.

The most important risk factor for lung cancer is smoking. Increasing age is also a risk factor for lung cancer. Lung cancer has a generally poor prognosis, with an overall 5-year survival rate of 20.5%. However, early-stage lung cancer has a better prognosis and is more amenable to treatment.

The updated recommendation replaces the 2013 USPSTF statement that recommended annual screening for lung cancer with LDCT in adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

For More Information

Visit the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.