A new recommendation from US Preventive Services Task Force is encouraging heavy smokers to undergo a yearly screening for lung cancer, based on findings from a recent study citing evidence-based behavioral strategies should be used, at each visit, to motivate smokers to quit. As an added bonus, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has also “approved lung cancer screenings as a preventive service benefit.”
“Lung screening with low-dose CT will save many lives by detecting lung cancer at earlier, treatable stages," explained Benjamin A. Toll, PhD, associate professor of public health at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), and coauthor of the study.
Toll adds that, in order to be successful, the strategy is must be two-fold – tobacco treatment must be used in conjunction with lung screening to see positive results. It is also recommended that all smokers be given access to evidence-based interventions, supported with follow-up contacts to ensure all necessary steps are being taken in order to quit.
By combining all of these strategies, patients are most likely to maximize the benefits or screening and even quit the habit altogether.