New lung Cancer Screening Guidelines Include Heavy Smokers Who Quit Long Ago

Although lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer associated deaths, only a small population of people at high risk for lung cancer are getting screened for the health condition. However, there seem to be a sign of goodwill as the new American Cancer Society stipulations now allows room for millions more to have regular scans for lung cancer tumours.

The new guideline which was released on Wednesday instructs that even heavy smokers who quit 15 years ago or more should get the yearly scans. Now, people from the ages 50 to 80 who had smoked at least 20 “pack years” and had quit within the last 15 years can be tested annually for lung cancer using a low-dose CT scan.

Why is the new guideline a milestone achievement?

According to experts and panelists the new guideline would cater for the flaws the older version presented, which was on the premises of; the longer it had been since a person had given up smoking, the lower the risk for cancer.

An expert like Dr. William Dahut; chief scientific officer of the American Cancer Society, claims that a rigorous look at both clinical and scientific data rather shows that the risk of cancer rose as people aged, even among those who had given up smoking 15 or more years.

Some experts also claim that the positivity that ex-smokers have in regards to their lung health having become much better after quitting smoking may be false – hence the need to uphold the new guideline.

Why must you get screened for lung cancer?

According to reports released by the Radiological Society of North America last year, More than 80% of people whose lung cancer was caught early through screening were still alive after 20 years.

Also, many experts in the field of oncology believe lung cancer is deadly because most people aren’t diagnosed until a very late stage. Therefore getting screened for lung cancer may be a right step in early detection and timely treatment.

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