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Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines

People who currently smoke or formerly smoked are at higher risk for lung cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends yearly lung cancer screening with a low-dose CT scan (LDCT) for some of these people.

American Cancer Society Lung Cancer Screening Guideline

Full text of current ACS recommendations (and rationale) about informed/shared decision-making to determine whether to initiate lung cancer screening is available here.

Screening Criteria

The most recent version of the American Cancer Society (ACS) lung cancer screening guideline [from 2018] is being taken down while we review new scientific evidence to be included in the next update. While this important update is being completed, the ACS advises that health care providers, and people at increased risk for lung cancer, follow the recently updated recommendations for annual lung cancer screening from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), or the American College of Chest Physicians.

These organizations recommend yearly lung cancer screening with LDCT scans for people who:

  • Are 50 to 80 years old and in fairly good health,
  • Currently smoke or have quit in the past 15 years,
  • Have at least a 20 pack-year smoking history. (This is the number of packs of cigarettes per day multiplied by the number of years smoked. For example, someone who smoked 2 packs a day for 10 years [2 x 10 = 20] has 20 pack-years of smoking, as does a person who smoked 1 pack a day for 20 years [1 x 20 = 20].)

In addition, it’s important that people who are going to be screened:

  • Receive counseling to quit smoking if they currently smoke,
  • Have been told by their doctor about the possible benefits, limits, and harms of screening with LDCT scans,
  • Can go to a center that has experience in lung cancer screening and treatment.