Lung CT Scan screening guidelines criticised

Lung cancer group blasts CT screening guidelines By staff writers May 22, 2012 — Lung cancer advocacy group Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) is criticizing guidelines for CT lung screening from a recently released study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, calling the guidelines “pessimistic.” The JAMA study’s tepid conclusions on the value of CT lung screening could cause confusion among the at-risk public and delay efforts to bring the benefits of screening to those at risk for lung cancer, LCA said in a May 21 statement. “Scientific debates are not new, especially when it comes to interpreting statistics about the benefits of screening,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, president and CEO of the Lung Cancer Alliance. “This study seems to underplay benefit and overplay harm.” The JAMA study recommends screening only for those individuals ages 55 to 74 with more than 30 pack-years of smoking history — the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years. Other individuals should forgo screening pending further study, concluded the panel, writing for a consortium of medical societies led by the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). It is time to move beyond scientific debate to implement lung cancer screening, Ambrose said, noting that respected medical societies have analyzed the data and taken a more positive approach to screening. In addition, medical centers across the U.S. have moved to implement quality CT lung screening programs. Mammography initially faced similar resistance when it was implemented, but it has since become a critical tool for raising breast cancer survival rates, which now stand at 89%, she said.