Yearly Lung Cancer Scans Are Advised for People 50 and Over With Shorter Smoking Histories

New advice from an influential panel will make more women and African-Americans eligible for CT scans, but some who need them most may not be able to afford them.

New guidelines from medical experts will nearly double the number of people in the United States who are advised to have yearly CT scans to screen for lung cancer, and will include many more African-Americans and women than in the past.

The disease is the leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths, and the goal of the expanded screening is to find it early enough to cure it in more people at high risk because of smoking. In those individuals, annual CT scans can reduce the risk of death from the cancer by 20 to 25 percent, large studies have found.

The new recommendations, by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, include people ages 50 to 80 who have smoked at least a pack a day for 20 years or more, and who still smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

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