More Adults Should Be Screened for Lung Cancer Under New Guidelines from the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society updated its lung cancer screening recommendations for the first time in a decade

<p>Getty</p> Lung Cancer X-Ray


Lung Cancer X-Ray

Millions more Americans should be screened for lung cancer, according to updated guidelines from the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Earlier this week, the organization shared an update to its screening recommendations, marking the first time it has done so in a decade.

The ACS now recommends that men and women between the ages of 50 and 80 — who currently smoke or formerly smoked and have a 20 pack-year history — get an annual lung cancer screening. (A pack-year is defined as smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year.)

The group recommends annual screening with a low-dose computed tomography scan, which, according to the American Lung Association, uses X-rays to combine images into a detailed picture of an individual's lungs.

The previous recommendation, which was released in 2013, prompted adults ages 55 to 74 to get a screening if they smoked or quit smoking less than 15 years ago and had a 30 pack-year smoking history.

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<p>Getty</p> Doctor speaks with patient


Doctor speaks with patient

Related: Cancer Cases in Adults Under 50 Have Increased Dramatically Around the World

“This updated guideline continues a trend of expanding eligibility for lung cancer screening in a way that will result in many more deaths prevented by expanding the eligibility criteria for screening to detect lung cancer early,” Dr. Robert Smith, senior vice president of early cancer detection science at the American Cancer Society and lead author of the lung cancer screening guideline report, said in a statement.

“Recent studies have shown extending the screening age for persons who smoke and formerly smoked, eliminating the ‘years since quitting’ requirement and lowering the pack per year recommendation could make a real difference in saving lives," he added.

<p><br/>Prapass Pulsub / Getty Images</p> Lung Cancer Scan

Prapass Pulsub / Getty Images

Lung Cancer Scan

Lung cancer, according to the ACS, is the overall leading cause of cancer deaths across the nation.

The ACS estimates that nearly 240,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in 2023, and about 127,000 people will die from the disease.

And while anyone can get lung cancer despite their age, lung cancer typically occurs in older people, as most people diagnosed with the disease are aged 65 or older, per the ACS.

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