THURSDAY, Dec. 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Changes in the 2021 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) lung cancer screening guidelines increased the proportion of Black women diagnosed with lung cancer who would have been eligible for screening, according to a research letter published online Nov. 24 in JAMA Oncology.

Alexandra L. Potter, from the University of California at Berkeley, and colleagues evaluated lung cancer screening eligibility among U.S. Black women under the 2013 and 2021 USPSTF guidelines. The analysis included 58,973 participants in the Black Women’s Health Study (followed from July 1995 through December 2017) with annual linkages to state cancer registries and the National Death Index.

The researchers found that using the 2013 USPSTF guidelines, 22.7 percent of participants with lung cancer who had a smoking history would have been eligible for lung cancer screening versus 33.9 percent using the new 2021 guidelines, representing a 50 percent increase in eligibility. A total of 314 smokers would not have been eligible for screening under the 2021 guidelines because they had fewer than 20 pack-years of smoking history (67.8 percent) or because they quit smoking more than 15 years ago (46.2 percent). Among ever smokers, sensitivity and specificity of the 2021 guidelines were 33.9 and 86.5 percent, respectively. Sensitivity increased to 48.2 percent when removing the requirement that former smokers must have quit smoking within the past 15 years, while specificity decreased to 78.9 percent.

“Our findings suggest that removing the 15 years since quitting criteria in the current USPSTF guidelines may be beneficial for Black women,” the authors write.

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