Media Advisory: The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Applauds U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation for Lung Cancer Screening

STS President Doug Wood, MD and Secretary Keith Naunheim, MD available for interviews

(July 29, 2013) What: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) today released a draft recommendation for using low-dose computed tomography (CT) to screen those at high risk for lung cancer.

“Today is a monumental day, especially for people who have a significant risk for lung cancer,” said Douglas E. Wood, MD, President of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. “STS applauds the recommendation, which will help enable early lung cancer screening so that cancer can be detected when patients have a higher chance for survival.”

The panel’s recommendation for screening includes current and former smokers age 55–80 years who have a smoking history equivalent to a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years. The recommendation for screening also includes those who have quit within the past 15 years.

“STS has long advocated for lung cancer screening among at-risk patients,” said STS Secretary Keith Naunheim, MD. “The release of this recommendation today speaks to the dedication that thoracic surgeons have for patients and our commitment to providing the highest quality patient care.”

Background: Dr. Wood participated in a May 21 Congressional briefing on lung cancer screening hosted by the Lung Cancer Alliance, during which he spoke about his experience as chair of the Lung Cancer Screening Panel of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). He noted that the NCCN has had lung cancer screening guidelines for 3 years and urged the USPSTF to follow suit.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of US cancer deaths and cancer costs under Medicare. The American Cancer Society predicts that 159,000 Americans will die from lung cancer this year—more than breast, prostate, colon, and pancreatic cancers combined. The 5-year lung cancer survival rate remains dismal at 16%. Recent results from the National Lung Screening Trial, published in the July 18 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, showed a 20% reduction in lung-cancer mortality with low-dose CT.


For more information, or to schedule an interview with Dr. Doug Wood or Dr. Keith Naunheim, contact Cassie Brasseur at 312-202-5865 or cbrasseur [at] sts [dot] org.

Founded in 1964, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is a not-for-profit organization representing more than 6,600 cardiothoracic surgeons, researchers, and allied health care professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest. The Society’s mission is to enhance the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest quality patient care through education, research, and advocacy.