Principle and practice are two standards by which healthcare practitioners can determine if their patients are candidates for low-dose CT screening for lung cancer.

In principle, Bernardo H.L. Goulart, MD, said, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines should point the way to patient selection for screening.

“These guidelines recommend screening for asymptomatic patients of age 55 to 80 with a minimum smoking history of 30 pack-years, who are current smokers or have quit in the past 15 years,” Goulart noted.

However, in practice, patients’ insurance policies are more likely to determine which guidelines to use for screening recommendation.

“For Medicare enrollees, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines recommend screening for patients of age 55 to 77 with the same smoking history required by the USPSTF guidelines,” he commented. “Physicians should follow the USPSTF guidelines for commercially insured patients.”

Goulart also recommended decisions tools, such as Should I Screen, as resource to help patients and physicians make individual decisions about screening.

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