Feature | March 03, 2015 | Melinda Taschetta-Millane

Medicare CT Lung Cancer Screening Coverage a Victory for Patients

Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final national coverage determination, effective immediately, that provides for Medicare coverage of screening for lung cancer with low dose computed tomography (LDCT). This screening gives at-risk seniors unprecedented access to care.  

“This is the first time that Medicare has covered lung cancer screening. This is an important new Medicare preventive benefit since lung cancer is the third most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States,” said Patrick Conway, M.D., chief medical officer and deputy administrator for innovation and quality for CMS.

Medicare will now cover lung cancer screening with LDCT once per year for Medicare beneficiaries who meet all of the following criteria:

are between 55-77, and are either current smokers or have quit
smoking within the last 15 years;

have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 “pack years” (an average of one pack a day for 30 years); and

receive a written order from a physician or qualified non-physician practitioner that meets certain requirements.

“Medicare got this right,” stressed Laurie Fenton Ambrose, president and chief executive officer of the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA). “Screening coverage will help save thousands of seniors each year from the nation’s leading cancer killer. Screening programs can also help lower smoking rates. The process may even lead to better understanding of addiction as well as lung cancer in those who have never smoked.” 

On Feb. 5, The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) issued a statement commending CMS’ decision. “CMS has taken a bold step that can potentially reduce the lung cancer mortality of patients at highest risk for lung cancer by nearly 20 percent,” said ASTRO Chair Bruce Haffty, M.D., FASTRO. “We are grateful for the additional opportunities that annual screening provides us to save hundreds of thousands of lives from lung cancer. This year in the United States, it is estimated that nearly 230,000 men and women will be diagnosed with lung cancer, and that there will be more than 160,000 deaths from lung cancer — more deaths than from breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. This highly effective annual screening is a critical and powerful tool that will enable us to diagnose patients earlier when treatments are most effective, and it will fortify our efforts to battle this destructive disease.”

This very well could be a game changer in the battle against lung cancer. “Medicare coverage of CT lung cancer screening will help screening programs nationwide save lives,” stressed Ella Kazerooni, M.D., FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology Lung Cancer Screening Committee and American College of Radiology Thoracic Imaging Panel. “If older current and former smokers and their doctors decide that screening is warranted, patients should seek out an ACR lung cancer screening center. Together, we will complete the first major blow against lung cancer.” 

For more information on CT lung cancer screening: http://bit.ly/1AzscyA

To find an ACR Lung Cancer Screening Center: http://bit.ly/1xptSFe

Lung Cancer Decision Memo: http://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/details/nca-decision-memo.aspx?NCAId=274

Related Content

The key trends Clinicians reviewing a COVID-19 patient's lung CT that reveals the severity of COVID-caused pneumonia. The impact of COVID on radiology was a major, over arching trend at  the 2020 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting. Getty Imagesbserved at 2020 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting all focused around COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) and the impact it has had on radiology. #RSNA #RSNA20 #RSNA2020

Clinicians reviewing a COVID-19 patient's lung CT that reveals the severity of COVID-caused pneumonia. The impact of COVID on radiology was a major, over arching trend at  the 2020 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting. Getty Images

Feature | RSNA | January 20, 2021 | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane and Dave Fornell
Coronary CT angiography images courtesy of Canon Medical Systems.

Coronary CT angiography images courtesy of Canon Medical Systems.

News | Computed Tomography (CT) | January 18, 2021
MRI of Nonferromagnetic Ballistics Suspended in Gelatin. 

MRI of Nonferromagnetic Ballistics Suspended in Gelatin. Scout (A), T1-weighted spin-echo (SE) (B), T2-weighted SE (C), T2-weighted gradient-recalled echo (GRE) (TR/TE, 500/10; D), and T2-weighted GRE (TR/TE, 700/30; E) MR images show jacket hollow point .45 automatic Colt pistol bullet (Corbon) (1), solid lead .45 Long Colt bullet (Winchester) (2), full metal jacket (FMJ) automatic Colt pistol bullet (Winchester) (3), 5.56-mm FMJ bullet (Federal Ammunition) (4), #7 lead shotgun pellet (Winchester) (5), and 5-mm lead air gun pellet (Sheridan) (6). On all sequences, metallic artifact is minimal. Although metallic artifact increases or blooms with increased TR/TE in GRE images (D and E), amount of surrounding distortion is still minimal.

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | January 15, 2021
January 15, 2021 — 
Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Image courtesy of  National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH)

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | January 15, 2021
January 15, 2021 — In one of the first studies to examine the impact of the...
C-RAD has been selected as the partner to implement surface tracking technology for three proton cancer treatment centers in the U.S.
News | Proton Therapy | December 28, 2020
December 28, 2020 — C-RAD offers a specific version of its Catalyst System for use in...
Post-neoadjuvant therapy changes in metabolic metrics from PET/MRI and morphologic metrics from CT were associated with pathologic response and overall survival in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Pre-treatment (A-C) and post-treatment (D-F) images after eight cycles of systemic FOLFIRINOX and consolidative chemoradiation. Baseline CA 19-9 was 145 U/ml. Pre-treatment whole body axial fused PET/MRI showed FDG avid lesion in body of pancreas (arrow, A) with SUVmax 7.1 and SUVgluc 8.0. Lesion was hypo-enhancing on axial contrast-enhanced T1-weighted (T1W) MR image (arrow, B) from focused abdominal PET/MRI and on CT (arrow, C). Pre-treatment CT tumor volume was 10.3 cm3. Post-treatment whole body axial fused PET/MRI showed complete metabolic response (arrow D) with SUVmax 1.9 and SUVgluc 1.9. Lesion was indistinct on axial contrast-enhanced T1W MRI (arrow, E) and CT (arrow, F), and there was upstream pancreatic parenchymal atrophy. Post-treatment CT tumor volume was 0.46 cm3. There was normalization of CA 19-9. Relative change in SUVmax (ΔSUVgluc) was -73%, and relative change in SUVgluc (ΔSUVgluc) was -76%. Based on change in tumor size, response was categorized as partial response per RECIST. Relative change in tumor volume (ΔTvol) was -96%. Pathology showed major pathologic response (College of American Pathologists score 1.) Images courtesy of American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS), American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR)

News | PET-MRI | December 10, 2020
December 10, 2020 — According to an open...
An MR image of a patient in their early 20s shows nerve injury (highlighted in yellow) of the left brachial plexus in the neck. The patient experienced left arm weakness and pain after recovering from COVID-19 respiratory illness, which prompted them to see their primary care physician. As a result of the MRI findings, the patient was referred to the COVID-19 neurology clinic for treatment. Image courtesy of Northwestern University

An MR image of a patient in their early 20s shows nerve injury (highlighted in yellow) of the left brachial plexus in the neck. The patient experienced left arm weakness and pain after recovering from COVID-19 respiratory illness, which prompted them to see their primary care physician. As a result of the MRI findings, the patient was referred to the COVID-19 neurology clinic for treatment. Image courtesy of Northwestern University

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | December 08, 2020
December 8, 2020 — After recovering from COVID-19
Earlier initial diagnosis reduces lung cancer mortality in heavy (ex-)smokers / The risk of harm from misdiagnosis or overdiagnosis is relatively low

Image courtesy of Toshiba/Canon

News | Computed Tomography (CT) | December 08, 2020
December 8, 2020 — For heavy (ex-)smokers,...