The American Association for Thoracic Surgery Guidelines for Lung Cancer Screening Using Low-Dose Computed Tomography Scans for Lung Cancer Survivors and Other High-Risk Groups

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 Jul;144(1):33-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2012.05.060.


Objective: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in North America. Low-dose computed tomography screening can reduce lung cancer-specific mortality by 20%.

Method: The American Association for Thoracic Surgery created a multispecialty task force to create screening guidelines for groups at high risk of developing lung cancer and survivors of previous lung cancer.

Results: The American Association for Thoracic Surgery guidelines call for annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography screening for North Americans from age 55 to 79 years with a 30 pack-year history of smoking. Long-term lung cancer survivors should have annual low-dose computed tomography to detect second primary lung cancer until the age of 79 years. Annual low-dose computed tomography lung cancer screening should be offered starting at age 50 years with a 20 pack-year history if there is an additional cumulative risk of developing lung cancer of 5% or greater over the following 5 years. Lung cancer screening requires participation by a subspecialty-qualified team. The American Association for Thoracic Surgery will continue engagement with other specialty societies to refine future screening guidelines.

Conclusions: The American Association for Thoracic Surgery provides specific guidelines for lung cancer screening in North America.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Mass Screening / standards
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures / standards*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / standards*
  • United States / epidemiology