(WYTV) – We should start looking for lung cancer a little bit earlier, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which has come up with a new number.
The task force says the change could help save more lives.
Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States after skin and breast cancer, but more people die from lung cancer than from any other type.
“Their update just last month lowered the age limit from 50 to 55, is the starting point, and lowered the amount of smoking to 30-pack years down to 20-pack years,” said Dr. Peter Mazzone, an oncologist. “So their current recommendations would be ages 50 to 80, 20-pack year smoking history and you’ve smoked within the last 15 years.”
Let’s translate that for you — 30-pack years means you’ve smoked a pack a day for 30 years.
By lowering the age limit, the number of people eligible for screening would increase by 80% to 90%.
Lung cancer screenings involve a low-dose CT scan but researchers are working on a blood test that might do the trick.