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Low-dose lung cancer screenings can reduce death by at least 20%, but usage is low

UCLA Health Connect blog

Post Date:November 17, 2021 9:00 AM

Too few adults with a history of smoking are undergoing annual lung cancer screenings that can cut death rates by at least 20%.

Dr. Ashley Prosper

Ashley Prosper, MD, a diagnostic radiologist and co-director of the UCLA Lung Screening Program, said only 5% to 15% of eligible people are getting low-dose computed tomography of the chest.

The low-dose CT scans can detect asymptomatic cases in those at highest risk of developing lung cancer. The scan requires a fraction of the radiation used in a standard chest CT.

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. More individuals will die from lung cancer than any other cancer,” said Dr. Prosper, a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We also know that it is really important to detect lung cancer early because outcomes are significantly influenced by the stage at diagnosis. The earlier we detect lung cancer, the better the survival rates.”

During November, which is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Prosper wants to spread the word about broadened eligibility guidelines for screening, which now provide more access for women and African-Americans who may not have smoked enough to qualify under the previous requirements.

Click here to read more about how annual screenings improve chances of catching disease early and new guidelines expand opportunities at the UCLA Health Connect blog.

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