An incidental lung nodule program found lung cancer with higher frequency than the majority of low-dose CT scans, new research shows.

“We know early detection of lung cancer improves survival by diagnosing lung cancers at earlier stages,” Matthew Smeltzer, PhD, associate professor in the division of epidemiology, biostatistics, and environmental health at the University of Memphis, said in the presentation. “And risk-based low-dose CT screening, while incredibly valuable, still only identifies a minority of patients.”

Between 2015 and 2020, patients were examined through an incidental lung nodule program (ILNP), and those with lung lesions detected during routine study were indicated by radiologists for further evaluation. Demographics, clinical features, procedures, complications and outcomes were recorded, according to the abstract.

Investigators analyzed each participant for eligibility for typical low-dose CT (LDCT) using standards from the National Lung Screening Trial, Center for Medicaid Services, Nederlands Leuvens Screening ONderzoek, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force criteria from 2013 and 2020 and National Comprehensive Cancer Network risk groups 1 through 3.

Of the 13,710 screened participants, 667 were diagnosed with lung cancer. Most patients diagnosed had either adenocarcinoma or squamous cell lung cancer, and 48% had stage I lung cancer.

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