The American Cancer Society has published new recommendations for lung cancer screening.
Screening was previously recommended for smokers and former smokers ages 55 to 74. The new recommendations expand that age range to 50-80. The other change is in the length of time after quitting smoking that screening should take place. The old recommendations said people who had smoked 15 years ago or less should be screened. The length of time is computed in “pack years” based on the number of cigarettes smoked. A pack year is equal to ten years of smoking one pack (20 cigarettes) a day. Someone who smoked two packs a day for ten years has a twenty-pack-year history of smoking. Heavy smokers will need to be screened for more years.
Under the new guidelines, some five million more Americans will be eligible for the screening. MANA provides free lung cancer screenings in Northwest Arkansas. MANA Imaging is Arkansas’s only American College of Radiology Accredited Lung Cancer Screening Center.
Why did the recommendations change?
Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer, with more Americans dying from this disease than from other types of cancer. However, there are new treatments now, with better outcomes — if the cancer is caught early. For that reason, the ACS expects that extending the screenings according to the new recommendations will save many lives.
Lung cancer has symptoms, but by the time a person is symptomatic, the cancer may be more advanced. Screenings catch the cancer before a patient is aware of the possibility.
If you are a smoker or former smoker, 50 years of age or older, schedule your free screening by calling 479-695-0081.
You should make this call even if you had a screening last year. Just like annual mammograms, which help catch breast cancer in early, highly treatable stages, lung cancer screenings should be part of your annual self-care routine.
If you have any questions, ask your primary care physician.