Preventive Services Task Force Recommends CT Screening for Lung Cancer

January 15, 2014

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended annual low-dose CT screening for people between 55 and 80 years of age who are at high risk for lung cancer because they are heavy smokers or were previously, but quit within the past 15 years.

The recommendation is based on a comprehensive review of the available evidence, including results from the NIH National Lung Screening Trial, a large study of more than 50,000 people. The task force found that low-dose CT scans more accurately identify early stage lung cancer than do other screening tests. The group also found that many lung cancer deaths can be prevented by screening high-risk people every year.

The task force, which assigns one of the five letter grades (A,B,C,D, or I) to reflect the strength of recommendations, gave this recommendation a grade B. Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and private insurers must cover all services graded A or B by the USPSTF.


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