Medicare Lung Cancer Screening a
Lifesaver for Seniors, Say Radiologists
CT lung cancer screening recommended for adults 55-80
with 30 pack a year smoking history, currently smoke or have quit within
11, 2014 - New Medicare computed tomography (CT) lung cancer
screening coverage provides high-risk seniors with access to care that
can save more lives than any cancer screening test in history, says a
news release from the American College of Radiology.
"CT lung cancer screening is the first and only
cost-effective test proven to significantly
reduce lung cancer deaths. Medicare coverage provides access to care
for seniors and will help physicians save thousands of lives each year
from the nation's leading cancer killer," said
Ella Kazerooni, M.D., FACR, chair of the American College of
Radiology Lung Cancer Screening Committee and American College of
Radiology Thoracic Imaging Panel.
Lung cancer kills more people each year than breast,
colon and prostate cancers combined
March 13, 2014 - Last December, the United States
Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
recommended screening of adults
aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and
currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Today a large
number of medical and patient groups called on the Centers for Medicare
& Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide Medicare coverage of low-dose
computed tomography (LDCT) screening for patients defined in the USPSTF
recommendations and others found to be at high-risk of lung cancer.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
narrowed coverage to those ages 55-74 - the National Lung Screening
Trial (NLST) population - and will require providers to submit clinical
and follow-up data to an approved registry. The ACR will apply to be a
Medicare recognized registry and will work with stakeholders to submit
comments regarding the details of the CMS coverage announcement.
Significant lung cancer screening infrastructure is
growing quickly to meet the need for this important public health
measure. Medical experts and patient advocates
recently outlined infrastructure and quality assurance programs to
"We strongly advise older current and former heavy
smokers to speak with their doctors about whether CT lung cancer
screening is right for them. If they and their doctor decide that
screening is warranted, we encourage patients to seek out an ACR lung
cancer screening center," said Kazerooni.
With the USPSTF recommendation, the Affordable Care
Act (ACA) requires private insurers to cover CT lung cancer screening as
an essential health benefit. Today's decision ensures Medicare
beneficiaries have access to these services as well.
"Lung cancer will kill 160,000 Americans this year
- more than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. Medicare
coverage of these exams helps complete the first major blow against this
terrible disease. This is a great day for those at high-risk for lung
cancer and their families. We look forward to a future where a lung
cancer diagnosis is no longer essentially a death sentence for so many
people," said Kazerooni.
More than 220,000 people will be diagnosed with
lung cancer this year. Nearly 160,000 people will die from the disease,
according to the
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