Current or former heavy smokers are advised to undergo CT scan screening to detect cancer early, when it’s easier to treat—but only around 2% do so. To help boost screening, new guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently expanded eligibility. Previously, screening was recommended for people age 55 and older who smoked at least a pack a day for 30 years (30 pack-years) and who either still smoke or quit within the past 15 years. The new recommendation lowers the screening age to 50 and the pack-year threshold to 20.
These changes are expected to nearly double the number of individuals who meet the screening criteria and will include more women and Black people.