Inga T. Lennes, MD, MBA, MPH
Patients who are between the ages of 55 and 74 years, have a 30 pack-year history, and have not quit smoking within the last 15 years are encouraged to undergo lung cancer screening, according to Inga T. Lennes, MD, MBA, MPH.
Screening among this patient population has significant morbidity benefits, as seen in the NELSON trial. In this study, more than 15,000 patients were enrolled, half of whom received CT screenings at baseline and years 1, 3, and 5.5, while the other half of patients did not receive screenings. The CT scan protocol included centralized reading of the images as well as monitoring of lung nodule volume and volume doubling time.
Ten-year follow-up results showed that CT scans decreased mortality by 26% in asymptomatic men who were at high risk for lung cancer. Additionally, in a subset of women who underwent screening, it was found that the risk of dying of lung cancer was reduced by 39% to 61% in various years of follow-up. According to Lennes, further subgroup analyses are studying the reasons why women benefitted so greatly from screening.
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