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Expanding lung cancer screening guidelines to include younger patients and lower smoking levels may not reduce disparities

Expanding eligibility for lung cancer screening by lowering the required minimum age and intensity of smoking in order to increase the number of Black smokers screened does not reduce the racial disparity in who gets screened.

Based on an awareness that the rate of cigarette smoking and the age at diagnosis tend to be lower in the Black population, the United States Preventive Service Task Force 2020 updated its guidelines for lung-cancer screening eligibility. This would lead to greater numbers of eligible patients from all racial or ethnic groups.

But it did not improve racial/ethnic disparities because the proportions of newly eligible persons remained fairly similar to the proportions existing prior to this change, with some increases in potential benefits gained for the White population relative to other groups.

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