Is there screening for lung cancer like there is for other cancers?

There are screening guidelines for lung cancer, but they are for those considered high risk.

The current guidelines recommend screening, via a spiral CT scan, for those at a high risk based on age and smoking history. Those individuals who should get screened include those between the ages of 55-80 who have smoked on average a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or more history who are current smokers or who have quit in the past 15 years. A person who smoked a pack a day for 30 years and a person who smoked two packs a day for 15 years would both have a 30-pack year history.

A recent clinical trial from the National Cancer Institute showed 20 percent fewer lung cancer deaths among current and former heavy smokers who are screened with a spiral CT scan yearly. According to the Lung Cancer Alliance, people with a 15-pack year history and a second risk factor, such as being exposed to chemical agents or radon or asbestos, should also discuss screening with their doctor.

For more information, contact Courtney Britton, librarian at Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, at (225) 927-2273,, or visit the Education Center at 550 Lobdell Ave., Baton Rouge.

ä Internet Resources:

US Preventative Services Task Force: Lung Cancer Screening: Fact Sheet

Lung Cancer Screening PDQ – NCI

This column is presented as a service by Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, a United Way affiliate.