A new study conducted by researchers from the University of California-Berkeley, the Northeastern University and Boston University has found that the new screening guidelines for lung cancer have significantly grown the eligibility of Black women.
The U.S. Preventative Services Taskforce, which is made up of experts in evidence-based and preventative medicine, changed the lung cancer screening guidelines in April 2021 by reducing the required smoking “pack-years” to 20 from 30 and lowering the screening age of eligibility to 50, from 55.
According to a research letter recently published in “JAMA Oncology,” these changes were made in order to increase the number of African Americans eligible for screening after recent studies found that Black Americans had a higher risk of lung cancer even with fewer smoking “pack-years” in comparison with Caucasians and were more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age.
Data from the American Lung Association shows that Black patients with lung cancer are less likely to receive early diagnoses of the fatal ailment, compared to their white counterparts. The data shows that in comparison to the 20% of white women and 16% of white men who have their cancer diagnosed in its early stages, only 16% and 12% of Black women and men respectively, receive early diagnoses.
According to a release, the experts analyzed data obtained from the Black Women’s health study conducted by Boston University researchers to find the number of women diagnosed with lung cancer who had have been eligible for screening under the 2013 guidelines. The experts then compared this number to the number of women who were eligible for lung cancer screening under the 2021 guidelines. They discovered that under the previous guidelines, only about 22% of Black women who had a history of smoking would have been eligible for lung cancer screening.
However, under the new guidelines, this percentage rose to almost 34%, representing a 50% increase in eligibility. The experts also discovered that eliminating the requirement that former smokers who stopped smoking in the last decade or so be excluded grew the number of lung cancer patients who would have been eligible for lung cancer screening to about 48% from 34%.
Julie Palmer, the corresponding author of the study and director of the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, stated that their findings showed that the new guidelines would significantly increase the proportion of Black women eligible for screening.
Palmer added that the new guidelines would help improve earlier detection, which would enhance survival rates for Black women with lung cancer, especially when many more companies such as AnPac Bio-Medical Science Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: ANPC) come out to advance the cancer diagnostics segment.
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