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Revised Guidelines Perpetuate Disparities in Lung Cancer Screening

In newly revised USPSTF guidelines, African American and Hispanic individuals continue to be less likely to be eligible for lung cancer screening

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THURSDAY, Sept. 30, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Racial/ethnic disparities in lung cancer screening persist, even in revised eligibility guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), according to a study published online Sept. 21 in Radiology.

Anand K. Narayan, M.D., Ph.D., working at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston at the time of the research and currently with the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and colleagues assessed the impact of the newly revised USPSTF 2021 guidelines on racial and ethnic disparities in lung cancer screening eligibility. Data from the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey were used to identify respondents without a history of lung cancer aged 55 to 79 years (previous guidelines) or aged 50 to 79 years (revised guidelines).

The researchers found that for the previous USPSTF guidelines, African American (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.36) and Hispanic respondents (aOR, 0.15) were less likely to be eligible for screening compared with White respondents. Under the revised guidelines, African American (aOR, 0.39) and Hispanic respondents (aOR, 0.15) still were less likely to be eligible for screening. There was no difference observed in the degree to which racial- and ethnic-minority groups were less likely to be eligible for screening when comparing the two sets of USPSTF guidelines.

"It was great to expand eligibility, but to just change the age and the pack-years doesn't fully address lung cancer risk," Narayan said in a statement. "We've long known that some racial/ethnic minorities face a higher risk of lung cancer, and that level of risk is not adequately reflected in the new guidelines."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to various medical companies.

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