Why Quality CT Matters in Lung Cancer Screening Programs

Supanich_Mark 1Mark Supanich, PhD, chair of the Alliance for Quality CT and an ACR member, contributed this post.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, but we can make a difference through quality, lifesaving screenings with low-dose computed tomography (CT). Research shows that early screening can reduce lung cancer mortality by up to 26 percent among smokers, yet only 2 to 4 percent of the eligible population is actually being screened.

The medical physics community plays an important role in facilitating Lung Cancer Screening (LCS) by working with radiologists, technologists and industry partners to develop and implement optimized CT protocols.

In 2010, the American Association of Physics in Medicine (AAPM) formed a collaborative committee in response to concerns about the misuse and misunderstanding of CT equipment. The group, Alliance for Quality CT (AQCT), includes representatives from CT manufacturers, the American College of Radiology, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists and a diverse group of practicing medical physicists from the AAPM.

AQCT’s goal is to publish, in the public domain, safe and reasonable CT protocols for select exams and educational material about the use of CT. In 2016, the committee first published LCS CT protocols, which were most recently updated on July 24, 2019. The update incorporates the latest CT models and software advances from each of the manufacturers represented in the group.

Our collaboration has changed the future of developing LCS programs. There are many obstacles to establishing an LCS program, including economic viability, physician buy-in for shared decision-making, addressing population disparities and more. These protocols simplify one major step in the comprehensive process, all while putting safety and effectiveness at the forefront of every patient’s screening.

  • Learn more about AQCT and check out our latest projects.

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