Only one in eight former smokers receive lung cancer screenings as recommended, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for adults ages 55 to 80 years who quit within the past 15 years, or who currently smoke more than 30 packs a year. In 10 states, one in eight people fall into these groups, but only one in eight of these adults reported getting screened in the past year, the agency reported.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Mortality might be reduced by early detection – when treatment can be more effective, the CDC stated. However, the USPSTF does not recommend lung cancer screening when a senior’s health substantially limits life expectancy or the ability to undergo curative lung surgery.
“Public health initiatives to prevent cigarette smoking, increase smoking cessation, and increase recommended lung cancer screening could help reduce lung cancer mortality,” the agency wrote in response to the findings.