Cancer Society backs lung screening for older, heavy smokers; risks, benefits unknown for rest

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The American Cancer Society says there now is enough evidence to recommend screening certain older, heavy smokers for lung cancer.

The society is releasing new guidelines Friday for annual CT lung scans. But they are only recommended for people ages 55 to 74 who have smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or the equivalent, such as two packs a day for 15 years. Research shows that screening these people can cut the risk of dying of lung cancer by 20 per cent.

Whether screening would help others is not known, so scans are not recommended for them.

Before patients decide whether to be screened, the guidelines say they should have a frank talk about risks and benefits with their doctors.

Organizations: American Cancer Society

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