Proposed lung cancer screening guidelines could open testing to more females, African Americans

An independent panel of national disease prevention experts is proposing changes to its lung cancer screening guidance, a move that could result in more women and Black people being screened.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force proposes lowering the age at which people are screened for lung cancer to 50 from 55 and changing smoking history criteria for screening eligibility.

Current guidelines recommend that smokers with a history of smoking an average of 20 cigarettes a day for 30 years be screened. The task force recommends that smokers be screened for lung cancer if they smoke an average of 20 cigarettes a day for 20 years.

These changes "will be especially helpful to African Americans and women," two groups that tend to smoke fewer cigarettes than white men, the task force said. The proposed changes would make many more African American and female smokers eligible for the screening.

The task force's recommendations are posted on its website and open for public feedback until Aug. 3.

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