Guidelines issued in January by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommend annual low-dose CT lung cancer screening for individuals 55 to 80 who are either current heavy smokers or former heavy smokers who have quit within the past 15 years.
“When cancer is detected early more treatment options are available and can be explored,” said Thomas Fabian, M.D., chief of Albany Med’s Section of Thoracic Surgery and director of its Multi-Specialty Lung Cancer Program, who noted that Albany Med has recommended more frequent screenings since 2010.
Dr. Fabian said lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, and that because the vast majority of lung cancers are diagnosed at a late stage, 80 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer die from the disease.
“These standards, when adopted and universally applied as they are at Albany Med, will save many lives,” Dr. Fabian said. “More frequent lung cancer screening for adult smokers means nearly 80 percent of lung cancer patients can be identified in the early stage, when surgery remains an option.”
Albany Med is one of only seven facilities in New York State designated as a Center for Lung Cancer Screening Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance. This designation is based on Albany Med adopting quality screening methods, employing recommended criteria for selecting high-risk individuals for screening and educating about risks and benefits, and providing evaluation and follow-up with a multi-disciplinary team of experts.
USPSTF is a group of health experts that reviews published research and makes recommendations about preventative care. They determined that low-dose CT lung cancer screening is more accurate than other alternatives in identifying the disease in its early stages.
For more information on Albany Med’s lung cancer program, please visit: http://www.amc.edu/Patient/services/pulmonary_medicine/lung_cancer_program.cfm
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