AATS supports USPSTF lung screening guidelines

August 29, 2013 — The American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) said it supports lung cancer screening in long-term smokers, signing onto a growing chorus of U.S. medical societies advocating screening with CT.

Specifically, AATS said it supports the draft recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), published last month, that recommend annual low-dose CT screening for smokers between ages 55 and 80 with at least 30 pack years of smoking history, the organization said. AATS said it also supports the further refinement of screening criteria that it believes will eventually include individuals older than 80.

Also in concert with previous recommendations, AATS said Americans need to be screened in specialized centers with expertise in lung cancer and access to state-of-the art diagnostic and treatment methods. Screening should also be tied to smoking cessation programs, the organization said.

In a statement, AATS President David Sugarbaker said there was no need for anyone to suffer the advanced stages of a disease now that a reliable test for early detection is available. Currently, only about 15% of the 250,000 lung cancers found each year are detected at an early stage when curative resection is possible.