Lung cancer CT scans: For older, heavy smokers

Published on January 23, 2013

Updated on March 28, 2018

New lung cancer screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society recommend annual CT lung scans (low-dose computed tomography) for people ages 55 to 74 who have smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or the equivalent, such as two packs a day for 15 years. Research shows that screening these people can cut the risk of dying of lung cancer by 20%. The recommendations also emphasize that individuals should discuss the guidelines with his or her doctor before getting screened. Although CT lung scans can help detect lung cancer early when it can be more easily treated, it is important to remember that the most effective way to lower lung cancer risk is to not use tobacco products.

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