Lung cancer screening guidelines do not detect disease among first responders

New research presented at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer’s 2019 North America Conference on Lung Cancer indicates that current national lung cancer screening guidelines are inadequate to diagnose patients who develop lung cancer from occupational exposure.

This finding is particularly worrying for World Trade Center recovery workers, among whom incidences of lung cancer are on the rise.

Current guidelines from the United States Preventative Task Force recommend an annual lung cancer screening with low dose computed tomography for adults aged 55 to 80, with a thirty-pack/year history of smoking who currently smoke or who quit within 15 years. So World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers (and others exposed to the pile’s toxins) would not be eligible for screening before age 55.

While most lung cancers are caused by smoking, about 30% of lung cancers are caused by occupational exposure. Among first responders generally (without World Trade Center exposure), there is a 14% higher chance of contracting lung cancer than among the general population, reports the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences’ EurekAlert.

For more information about this study, please click here.

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