Many people in the US are being killed every year from lung cancer. However, only a few people in that nation are getting screened for this dreaded disease. The new guidelines from the American Cancer Society allow several millions of people in the US to be eligible for regular screening, helping to identify tumors at an early stage and save lives.
According to information available with Medriva, the new guidelines are the same as those released in 2021, with just one addition. The Preventive Services Task Force in the US in 2021 advised people aged between 50 and 80 to get screened for lung cancer if they had smoked for 20 pack years. If they are still smoking or have quit smoking in the past 15 years, they need to get screened for cancer. As per the new guidelines announced on Wednesday, heavy smokers who quit smoking 15 years ago or older need to get scanned early using low-dose CT scans.
Previous guidelines for scanning were flawed
According to experts, the guidelines released in 2021 were mostly flawed and based on a person who had quit smoking and was at a lower risk of cancer. The CSO of the American Cancer Society, Dr. William Dahut, stated that the risk of cancer among those people who quit smoking 15 years ago or more increases as they grow older. William is also one of those engaged in framing new guidelines. According to William, the lungs of those who quit smoking have become better, and that improvement is not lasting.
According to information gathered from experts by Medriva, the low rates of screening for lung cancer are the result of a false assumption of security among the people. The American Lung Association, in its 2022 report, said just 5.8% of the population in the US was screened for lung cancer. It is abysmally low.
Is the screening for lung cancer worth it?
According to William, around 14.3 million people were eligible for screening in the US as per previous guidelines. Now, an additional 5 million people will be eligible for screening as per the latest guidelines in the US. The chances of survival after detecting cancer at a later stage are grim. The 5-year survival rate for patients who were diagnosed with lung cancer between 2012 and 2018 was just 23%. Those screened for lung cancer early have a survival rate of more than 20 years.
According to the estimates of the Cancer Society, the number of people suffering from lung cancer in the US would be around 238,340. Lung cancer-related deaths in the US are expected to be around 127,070 in 2023. Many people in the US are not diagnosed until later in life. Several former smokers and other smokers do not know that a simple CT scan could detect lung cancer and improve their chances of survival.
Commercial insurance companies pay for screening
Commercial insurance companies and Medicare in the US pay for tests to detect the cancer at the earliest stage. According to William, the insurance companies may need some more time to add additional people to their coverage as per the new guidelines.
People who smoke several packs a year are at risk of developing cancer. It increases the risk of death. The American Cancer Society advises people to get screened at the earliest possible time using a low-dose CT scan to improve their chances of survival.