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Updated Screening Guidelines For Lung Cancer

  • Category: Blog, Lung Center
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Dr. Michael Szwerc
Updated Screening Guidelines For Lung Cancer

Guidelines for lung cancer screening have expanded. Both the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) are expanding recommendations for lung cancer screening with low dose CT scans (LDCT). They have both recommended lowering the age of first screen to 50 years and continuing screening until age 80. Pack-year history has also been reduced to 20. Importantly, screening is still recommended for current smokers and former smokers who have quit smoking within the past 15 years. Screening should also be considered for people with a prior history of lung cancer.

Screening should also be considered for people with other risk factors for lung cancer including those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), those with a family history of lung cancer and those that may have significant exposure to heavy metals, dust, asbestos or other occupational exposures.

For individuals who meet the high-risk criteria, low dose CT screening for lung cancer may be covered every year by Medicare and most private insurance plans at 100% with no out-of-pocket costs. However, additional testing and follow-up scans between screenings may have a copay or deductible. Affordable out-of-pocket payment options are available for those who do not meet criteria, are without insurance coverage or for whom insurance has denied coverage. For additional information, please call 724-689-1440.

In the last five years, the Excela Health Advanced Lung Center has performed nearly 11,000 LDCT scans and diagnosed 155 new lung cancers. The majority of these cancers have been Stage I or II.

These new guidelines represent an opportunity to expand lung cancer screening across our community. For more information on the Lung Center, click here. 


Daniel Leigey

Click here to learn more about Dr. Michael Szwerc, Thoracic Surgeon, Medical Director of Robotic Surgery and the Center for Lung and Thoracic Disease.