January 2, 2014 — The American College of Radiology (ACR) supports the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation (Grade B) for low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung cancer screening of adults 55 to 80 years old who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST) results and other evidence show that CT lung cancer screening significantly reduces lung cancer deaths. The ACR is completing evidence-based infrastructure to help ensure patient access to uniform, quality care and a similar life-saving benefit to that shown in clinical trials.
“This USPSTF recommendation and expanded use of CT lung cancer screening in high-risk patients represents a landmark step in the battle against the nation’s number one cancer killer,” said Paul Ellenbogen, M.D., FACR, chair on the ACR board of chancellors. “The College expects to complete development of CT Lung Cancer Screening Appropriateness Criteria and corresponding practice guidelines and standards in the coming months. This will help ensure safe, effective diagnostic care for those at high risk for lung cancer.”
“The ACR supports the USPSTF’s recommendation and we are working to complete practice guidelines that cover how lung cancer screening CT exams are performed, interpreted and results communicated. We are also working on a lung image database and practice auditing system with an illustrated lexicon, structured reporting and management recommendations similar to the long-established BI-RADS system [breast imaging, reporting and data system] used in mammography. These materials will help ensure that those who should be screened can be tested regardless of where they live and provide for a robust screening program that can help save as many lives as possible,” said Ella Kazerooni, M.D., chair of the ACR Thoracic Imaging Panel and Committee on Lung Cancer Screening.
The Affordable Care Act requires that Medicare and private insurers provide coverage of all medical exams or procedures that receive a grade of “B” or higher from the USPSTF. This endorsement validates the tremendous research conducted by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) through the NLST.