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USPSTF finalizes its lung cancer screening recommendations

February 6, 2014

David Gaffin and Cameron Ferrey, Technology Insights

Last month, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) finalized its lung cancer screening recommendations, calling for the use of annual low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans in eligible patients. The USPSTF released the new recommendations with a “B” grade, indicating their belief that “there is high certainty that the net benefit is moderate or there is moderate certainty that the net benefit is moderate to substantial.” 

The recommendations are, in effect, an endorsement of a controversial screening program that will affect many adults aged 55 to 80 who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years, and could have a considerable impact on cancer screening strategy more broadly.

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Lung cancer screening programs—is now the right time?

February 10, 2012

Christopher Pericak

In the latest American Journal of Roentgenology, new research emerged touting follow-up protocols for CT lung cancer screening, marking the latest in a series of developments that have pushed screening into the forefront of administrative planning discussions.  Other major developments were a National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) displaying mortality reduction of 20% among high-risk patients screened for lung cancer, as well as a substantial increase in CMS reimbursement for Bronchoscopy with Fiducial Markers (CPT 31626) from $723 in 2011 to $2,024 in 2012. 

This collection of new tools, evidence, and reimbursement has sparked substantial interest by our hospital membership in developing lung cancer screening programs. However, the decision is not a no-brainer, and many considerations on timing, methods, and technology are required before proceeding with program development.

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