Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States among men and women; it is the most common cancer in men, in terms of incidence and mortality, and among women, it has the third highest incidence, and is second in mortality, after breast cancer. Screening of asymptomatic, healthy men and women at high risk for lung cancer is performed as an attempt to achieve an earlier diagnosis with greater chances for successful treatment and survival.
According to the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, screening is recommended for men and women age 55 to 79 with more than a 30 pack/year smoking history, long-term lung cancer survivors who have completed 4 years of surveillance without recurrence (to detect second primary lung cancer) and who can tolerate treatment until the year of 79, and for people age 50 to 79 and a 20 pack/year smoking history and additional comorbidity that produces a cumulative risk of developing lung cancer greater or equal to 5% in 5 years.
The American Cancer Society recommends screening for men and women age 55 to 74 years with more than 30 pack/year smoking history, either currently smoking or who have quit within the past 15 years and who are in relatively good health.
Screening for lung cancer is carried out with yearly low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) which has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer.