A decision aid for people considering lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography
The USPSTF recommends lung cancer screening for individuals who:
- Are 55 to 80 years old
- Do not have any signs or symptoms of lung cancer (diagnostic testing may be recommended for people who do have signs or symptoms of lung cancer)
- Have not had lung cancer before
- Currently smoke or quit less than 15 years ago
- Are or were heavy smokers (30 pack-years history such as those who smoked 1 pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs per day for 15 years)
BENEFIT: Greater chance of not dying from lung cancer
- If 1,000 people are not screened with LDCT for lung cancer, 21 will die from lung cancer.
- If 1,000 people are screened with LDCT once a year for 3 years, 18 will die from lung cancer.
- This means that with LDCT screening, 3 fewer people will die from lung cancer.
A false alarm happens when a person has a positive screening test but does not actually have lung cancer.
- If 1,000 people are screened every year for 3 years, about 356 will have a false alarm.
- Of these 356 people with a false alarm, 18 will have an invasive procedure such as a biopsy (a tiny piece of lung tissue is removed to test for cancer).
- Of these 18 people, less than 1 will have a major complication as a result of the procedure, such as bleeding in the lung, a collapsed lung, or an infection.
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