Article Abstract

Integration of smoking cessation and lung cancer screening

Authors: Matthew A. Steliga, Ping Yang


The National Lung Screening Trial demonstrated a decrease in both lung cancer mortality and overall mortality in enrollees aged 55–74 with a 30 pack-year smoking history using low-dose computed tomography (LDCT). Lung cancer screening in high-risk groups is supported by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and multiple other organizations. Inclusion for any lung screening program requires a history of smoking, and many undergoing screening are currently smoking. Screened patients are not only at risk for developing lung cancer, but also carry the risk of developing a host of other smoking related diseases, and cessation at any point is beneficial. Counseling and pharmacotherapy are evidence-based strategies which are well known to help people quit smoking. However, as lung cancer screening is an emerging and evolving field, the integration of cessation resources in screening programs is not uniformly done, and when it is done, there is no standardized approach. The goals of this review are to discuss the rationale for integrating smoking cessation resources in lung cancer screening, review what types of resources may be effective, and discuss different strategies of how integration can be done. Ultimately, the overarching goal of any lung cancer screening program is not merely to find more nodules, or diagnose more cases of cancer, but to help screened patients live longer, better lives. Smoking cessation broadens the impact of any lung cancer screening program well beyond the endpoints of cancer diagnosis and cancer mortality to reduce risk from many other diseases, and can positively impact many more patients than the small percentage that have cancer.

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