ACS updates guidelines, recommends lung cancer screening for 5 million more Americans

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has updated its guidelines for lung cancer screening, recommending that nearly 5 million more Americans undergo CT scans. This marks the first change to the screening recommendations in a decade. 

The new guideline suggests screening for anyone between the ages of 50 and 80 who currently smokes or formerly smoked cigarettes, defined as 20 packs a year or more.

Previously, the recommendations specified screening for adults ages 55 to 74, with a 30 pack per year history, both current smokers and those who quit 15 or fewer years ago.

The new guidelines no longer consider the number of years since quitting smoking. The ACS said that while quitting smoking reduces the risk of lung cancer over time compared to continued smoking, the risk remains higher for all former smokers than nonsmokers.

The updated ACS recommendation aligns more closely with that of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent panel of medical experts, which also suggests annual CT screening for individuals age 50 to 80 with a 20 pack-year smoking history. However, the USPSTF recommendation is limited to individuals who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years, much like the ACS guidelines from 2013.

Most insurers are required to cover preventative lung screenings without cost-sharing due to the USPSTF endorsement.

Chad Van Alstin Health Imaging Health Exec

Chad is an award-winning writer and editor with over 15 years of experience working in media. He has a decade-long professional background in healthcare, working as a writer and in public relations.

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