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New Lung Cancer Guidelines Recommends Offering Screening To High-Risk Individuals

NORTHBROOK, Ill., May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) third edition of evidence-based lung cancer guidelines, Diagnosis and Management of Lung Cancer, 3rd ed: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines, recommends offering low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scanning for lung cancer screening to people with a significant risk of lung cancer due to age and smoking history.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130507/DC08404-INFO )

Published as a special supplement to the May issue of CHEST, ACCP's peer-reviewed journal, the guidelines cite evidence to show lung cancer screening, through a structured and specific protocol, can reduce lung cancer deaths among individuals who are at elevated risk of developing lung cancer. The guidelines also document the advances made over the past 5 years in the treatment of tobacco use, including the benefits of tobacco cessation programs, in patients with lung cancer. The most effective deterrent to acquiring lung cancer is avoidance of tobacco products.

"Our new lung cancer guidelines take into account the many advances and new information in the field by providing comprehensive and nuanced recommendations related to prevention, screening, diagnosis, staging, and medical and surgical treatments," said Guideline Panel Chair, W. Michael Alberts, MD, MBA, FCCP, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL. "It also showcases the importance of multidisciplinary, team-based care when it comes to effective lung cancer treatment—collaborative decisions based on collective knowledge provide the most comprehensive patient-focused care."

SCREENINGFor individuals at elevated risk of developing lung cancer, the guidelines recommend offering LDCT scanning to screen for lung cancer in the context of a structured, organized screening program. The recommendation is based on a systematic review of the data that shows an important reduction in deaths from lung cancer when screening is done in an organized program. This is a clear change from the prior edition of the guidelines released in 2007, when such evidence was not available.

Lung cancer screening is a complex interplay of an individual's risk and many other key factors, including how LDCT scanning is performed and interpreted by the team. This must then be coupled with careful judgment that minimizes interventions to those that are necessary and education to appropriately balance concerns associated with lung cancer, radiation, and observation of incidental nodules. The guidelines call for the establishment of a registry designed to help address the large number of unanswered questions that arise as screening is implemented, as well as to clarify frequent misconceptions around lung cancer screening among patients and physicians. Additionally, the guidelines call for establishment of quality metrics so that benefits are optimized, and harm is kept low.

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