The American Cancer Society estimates more than 222,000 people across the country will face a diagnosis of lung cancer in the coming year. While the disease readily strikes men and women alike, men are at slightly higher risk for developing this potentially fatal condition. Men, a new study indicates, should also undergo more frequent routine screening for lung cancer if they fall into a high-risk category.
As it stands right now, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends annual low-dose CT scans for both men and women ages 55 to about 80 who are at high risk. This risk category is defined as having a history of smoking at least a pack a day for about 30 years. Heavy smokers who quit within the past 15 years are also urged to undergo screening.
To arrive at the findings that men might require more frequent screening, researchers looked at data related to more than 46,000 patients who underwent chest CT scans between 2000 and 2016. During this period, 282 patients developed lung cancer. Of that number, 186 were diagnosed on their initial scan. A total of 96 patients were diagnosed in subsequent scans. Of that 96, researchers noted differences between the sexes. The average time between diagnosis by CT and the previous scan was about 5.6 years in women and about 3.6 years in men. Most of the cases diagnosed in the women were stage one, but that wasn’t the case with most of the men.
Given the results, researchers say women might only require scans every two to three years. Annual scans, however, at the minimum should be followed through with by men and their doctors if risk is high.
Lung cancer claims an estimated 155,000 lives in America each year. People who are at risk for this disease are urged to talk with their doctors. Early detection can lead to successful treatment.