The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a release recommending screenings for those who are at high risk for lung cancer with annual low-dose CT scans, which can prevent a substantial number of lung-cancer related deaths.
The Task Force is taking comments from the public on these findings until Aug. 26.
"The more you smoke over time, the more at risk you are for lung cancer. When deciding who should be screened, clinicians will need to assess the person’s age, overall health, how much the person has smoked, and whether the person is still smoking or how many years it has been since the person quit,” says Task Force co-vice chair Michael LeFevre, MD, MSPH. “This evaluation will help clinicians decide whether it may be beneficial to screen a given person."
Farid Gharagozloo, MD, FACS, chief of the new Southwest Lung Cancer Program at the University of Arizona and a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of Arizona Medical Center (pictured), says many people who have a nodule on their lung may be misdiagnosed as having valley fever (coccidiodomycosis), because that disease is prevalent in our desert environment.
“There are more problems with lung cancer in the Southwest than in any other region in the nation,” Dr. Gharagozloo said. “Lung cancer is as common here as it is anywhere else in America, but more people who live in the Southwest end up dying from it. We’re going to change that.”
Read more about these efforts to treat and prevent lung cancer at the UACC's official website.
• U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Issues Draft Recommendation Statement on Screening for Lung Cancer (July 29, 2013)
• Early lung cancer screenings recommended (ArizonaCancerCenter.org, July 29, 2013)