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Health Experts Recommending Earlier Screenings for Lung Cancer

The American Cancer Society confirms that lung cancer has the highest cancer mortality rate in women and men. Lung cancer does not show any signs in its initial stage.

According to doctors, the best way to diagnose lung cancer in the early stage is early screening. The current lung cancer screening law states that only people who have 30 pack per year habit qualify for the screening. The individual must also have stopped smoking for the last 15 years or is a current smoker. Also, they must be between 55 to 80 years old.     

The Southern Community Cohort Study confirms that African Americans and women are at an elevated risk for lung cancer than other people. Due to the findings, the U.S Preventive Task Force has proposed lowering the recommended age for lung cancer screening.

During the study, 56% of white smokers and 32% of African American smokers were diagnosed with lung cancer. However, only 17% of African Americans and 31% of white smokers qualified for lung cancer screening.

The new recommendations propose that the new age requirement should be between 50 to 80 years. The individual must also have a history of 20 pack per year habit and be current smokers or quit smoking within the last 15 years. 

However, two conditions necessitate termination of lung cancer screening: first, if one develops a condition that lowers their life expectancy or their willingness or ability to go for curative lung surgery. Secondly, if the individual has not smoked for the past fifteen years, the screening should be stopped.

A ‘pack year’ is calculated by multiplying the number of years one smokes by the cigarette packs they smoke per day.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disclose that smoking cigarettes leads to the highest number of preventable deaths in America, but 13% of Americans are smokers.

Undesirable outcomes of early testing include over diagnosis, incidental findings, radiation-induced cancer, false-positive results, etc.

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