Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor) Jan 30 2020
The Dutch-Belgian Randomized Lung Cancer Screening Trial, known as the NELSON trial (de Koning et. al), published Jan. 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) , reconfirms that annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in high-risk patients significantly reduces lung cancer deaths.
With lung cancer screening, lung cancer can be identified at an early, treatable and curable stage. Given that the American Cancer Society predicts 142,000 lung cancer deaths this year, these results support that widespread screening could save 30,000–60,000 lives in the United States each year.
To Save More Lives from Lung Cancer: Screening older current and former smokers each year should be done far more widely Medical providers must become familiar with lung cancer screening guidelines and prescribe these exams for appropriate high-risk patients Drastically low Medicare reimbursement must be increased to support widespread screening
Lung cancer kills more people each year than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. If implemented nationwide, this cost-effective test would save more lives than any cancer screening test in history. Medicare must provide adequate reimbursement for these exams. Primary care providers and thoracic specialists should order the CTs for their high-risk patients," Debra Dyer, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Lung Cancer Screening 2.0 Committee Physicians not adhering to guidelines
Unlike breast and colon cancer screening, a patient's primary care physician must approve the patient for a lung cancer screening exam during a shared-decision making visit. Education of primary care physicians about who should be screened and how to refer to screening services is essential to patients receiving this lifesaving test. Tests are under-covered by Medicare Related Stories
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