Feb 27, 2020

Screening for Lung Cancer — annually 148,869 lung cancer-associated deaths

CDC - The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends annual lung cancer screening for adults aged 55–80 years who have a ≥30 pack-year cigarette smoking history and currently smoke or have quit <15 years ago.

What is added by this report?

In 10 states, one in eight persons aged 55–80 years met USPSTF criteria, and, among those meeting USPSTF criteria, only one in eight reported a lung cancer screening exam in the last 12 months.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Public health initiatives to prevent cigarette smoking, increase smoking cessation, and increase recommended lung cancer screening could help reduce lung cancer mortality.

The figure is a visual abstract with text describing that lung cancer screening saves lives and the need for increased screening when recommended.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States; 148,869 lung cancer-associated deaths occurred in 2016 (1). Mortality might be reduced by identifying lung cancer at an early stage when treatment can be more effective (2). In 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (CT) for adults aged 55–80 years who have a 30 pack-year* smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years (2). This was a Grade B recommendation, which required health insurance plans to cover lung cancer screening as a preventive service.§ To assess the prevalence of lung cancer screening by state, CDC used Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data collected in 2017 by 10 states.** Overall, 12.7% adults aged 55–80 years met the USPSTF criteria for lung cancer screening. Among those meeting USPSTF criteria, 12.5% reported they had received a CT scan to check for lung cancer in the last 12 months. Efforts to educate health care providers and provide decision support tools might increase recommended lung cancer screening.

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