The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) is the body that assesses the science of preventative health and makes recommendations that many countries (UK, Australia, New Zealand) follow. When an update in their recommendations occurs here at eDoc we carefully consider the implications for our subscribers and determine how best to put the update into understandable English!
Over the new year the USPSTF has released a number of updates and the latest is related to screening for lung cancer in smokers.
The USPSTF recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Screening should be discontinued once a person has not smoked for 15 years or develops a health problem that substantially limits life expectancy or the ability or willingness to have curative lung surgery.
A ‘pack year’ is considered 20 cigarettes a day for one year. Many pack sizes are 30 or 50 so for some people their ‘pack years’ accumulate rapidly (not good). The good news is the science indicates that your risks reduce significantly after you have stopped smoking for 15 years. The only way to achieve this, if are a smoker, is to stop today!