Game Changer for Lung Cancer Announced

National Expert Panel Recommends Annual CT Scans for Those at High Risk for Lung Cancer; Public and Private Reimbursements Expected to Follow Recommendation

The USPSTF  issued a draft recommendation giving its second highest approval rating for CT screening for lung cancer for those at high risk, a move that if approved in final form, will trigger Medicare and insurance coverage and bring about a dramatic drop in the leading cause of cancer deaths.

Lung Cancer Alliance President and CEO Laurie Fenton-Ambrose said the implications of the favorable “B” rating are profound and a “monumental moment.”

“Tens of thousands of lives could be saved,” she said. “Screening those at high risk now will dramatically make a difference and will open the door to much faster advances in research on all stages of lung cancer. This is a game changer.”

The USPSTF recommends screening for current and former smokers ages 55 to 80 with a smoking history the equivalent of smoking a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years. The recommendation for screening includes those who have quit within the past 15 years.

“The most important next steps are to help educate the public about risk and to direct them to responsible screening,” said Fenton Ambrose. “We are here to answer questions about lung cancer risks and provide information to those who need it most.”

Now that USPTSF has issued its draft recommendation, public comments are invited and will be accepted until August 26, 2013. The recommendation is expected to be finalized within six months.