Video

Dr. Jotte on the Optimal Frequency of Lung Cancer Screening

Robert M. Jotte, MD, PhD, medical director and co-chair of the USON Thoracic Committee at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, discusses the optimal frequency of lung cancer screening.

Robert M. Jotte, MD, PhD, medical director and co-chair of the USON Thoracic Committee at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, discusses the optimal frequency of lung cancer screening.

Though screening is recommended for patients who meet the appropriate criteria based on age and smoking history, the optimal frequency is unknown, explains Jotte. When a screening program is implemented, a lot of patients will come in at once. There are the patients whose CT scan at that time was negative, but 2 years from now might turn positive, says Jotte. That might be the one patient whom a physician can capture and operate on early so that they have an improvement in overall survival, despite their diagnosis.

The problem, explains Jotte, is that once patients get screened and find that do not have cancer, they think they do not have to be screened anymore. Therefore, a lot of patients are lost in the screening process that should continue down the road.

Physicians do not have any specific recommendations as to how often someone should get a CT scan. If an abnormality is identified, such as a solitary pulmonary nodule, the Fleischner criteria can be very helpful, explains Jotte. The criteria are used to capture those patients who are potentially going to develop a lung cancer versus those who have benign etiologies.

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