American Lung Association Applauds New Lung Cancer Screening Recommendations

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 1, 2013)

WASHINGTON, D.C., (July 29, 2013) — The American Lung Association applauds the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for releasing its draft lung cancer screening recommendations today. We thank the USPSTF for its leadership in recognizing the importance of preventive lung cancer screening for individuals who are at greater risk for lung cancer.
In this announcement, the USPSTF is recommending annual low-dose CT screening for individuals at high risk for lung cancer, and defines high risk individuals as current and former smokers, ages 55-79 years, who have significant cumulative tobacco smoke exposure and have smoked within the last 15 years.

“It is critical that the USPSTF move quickly to finalize these recommendations so that individuals who meet the guidelines for annual lung cancer screenings can begin to receive this preventive treatment. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, the potentially life-saving screening will occur at no cost to them,” said Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO for the American Lung Association.

In April 2012, the American Lung Association released its guidelines to assist physicians and their patients in discussions about lung cancer screening. The Lung Association’s guidelines, based on the National Cancer Institute National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST), mirror that of the draft recommendations of the USPSTF. The American Lung Association finds lung cancer screening a promising clinical strategy for the detection of pre-symptomatic lung cancer in individuals at the highest risk.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States, and has a five-year survival rate of only 15 percent. The most important risk factor for lung cancer is smoking, and the best thing people can do to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking or never start.

The American Lung Association has helped more than one million people quit smoking through its Freedom From Smoking® program and Freedom From Smoking Lung Helpline 1-800-LUNGUSA. The American Lung Association also provides several resources for lung cancer patients and their caregivers. Facing Lung Cancer: Support from Day One is an online tool with interactive features that address specific topics of interest for people living with lung cancer and their loved ones. The Lung Connection is an online community where individuals living with lung disease and their caregivers.