News | November 18, 2014

New Lung Cancer Screening Could Be Cost Effective According to Dartmouth Study

This finding can inform debate over early cancer detection method

November 18, 2014 — Dartmouth researchers say lung cancer screening in the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) meets a commonly accepted standard for cost effectiveness. The relatively new screening test uses annual low-dose CT scans to spot lung tumors early in individuals facing the highest risks of lung cancer due to age and smoking history.

"The takeaway from this study is that there is potential for lung cancer screening to be done in a cost-effective manner, particularly for adults 65-75 years of age," says William C. Black, M.D., chair of the Lung Cancer Screening Group at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and professor at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Black is a leading national researcher of lung cancer screening.

The Dartmouth study found that screening costs $81,000 for each quality-adjusted year of life it produces. The statistic, known as Cost per Quality-Adjusted-Life-Years (QALYs), considers the overall costs of a medical intervention to a selected population to produce one year of perfect health. A proposed benchmark for cost-effectiveness is $100,000-$150,000 QALY.

In this study Dartmouth researchers evaluated more than 53,000 participants in the seven-year NLST, with results proving that low-dose CT screening for lung cancer can save lives. For each 1,000 people screened there were about three fewer deaths from lung cancer.

When the researchers looked at specific subgroups of study participants, they found lung cancer screening was most cost-effective for current smokers, women and for people in their sixties.

Lung cancer screening is not yet standard medical practice. For the last two years, multiple professional associations have issued statements that recommend physicians offer annual lung cancer screening to individuals 55-80 years old who have more than a 30-pack years history of smoking.

This type of screening is not without risks. In the NLST, roughly one-third of those screened had a "false alarm" requiring further testing, usually a repeat of the CT scan, to rule out lung cancer. Some additional tests are invasive and come with a small risk of serious complications. 

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force stated in December 2013 that commercial insurers will be required to cover the test as a preventive service with no co-pays or deductibles. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), however, has yet to issue its final decision on reimbursement. A preliminary panel recommended against coverage by CMS this past spring.  

Since the NLST was conducted, the American College of Radiology narrowed its definitions of a "positive" lung cancer-screening test. This stricter guideline should decrease the number of false alarms resulting from the test.

For more information: www.cancer.dartmouth.edu

Related Content

Houston Methodist Hospital Enters Multi-Year Technology and Research Agreement With Siemens Healthineers
News | Imaging | August 17, 2017
Houston Methodist Hospital and Siemens Healthineers have entered into a multi-year agreement to bring cutting-edge...
Four Blue Cross Blue Shield Companies Issue Positive Medical Policies on HeartFlow FFRct Analysis
News | Computed Tomography (CT) | August 09, 2017
HeartFlow Inc. announced that four Blue Cross Blue Shield companies have each issued a positive medical policy for the...
The American Lung Association created LUNG FORCE, a national movement to defeat lung cancer
News | Lung Cancer | August 02, 2017
To raise public awareness of lung cancer—the leading cancer killer of men and women—the American Lung Association's...
GE’s DoseWatch is a digital informatics solution that automatically collects, monitors and reports on radiation dose indices for diagnostic imaging exams
News | Radiation Dose Management | July 31, 2017
GE Healthcare announced that it has licensed computed tomography (CT) organ dosimetry technology developed at Duke...
Contrast Media from Bayer, trends in contrast media and developments in contrast media
Feature | Contrast Media | July 28, 2017 | By Dave Fornell
Here are several updates in medical imaging ...
New York Hospital Finds Significant Cost Savings With Toshiba’s Aquilion One CT
News | Computed Tomography (CT) | July 25, 2017
In five years, Kaleida Health’s Stroke Care Center (SCC) at the Gates Vascular Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., has realized...
Samsung Introduces FDA-Cleared BodyTom Elite CT Scanner
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT) | July 24, 2017
Samsung announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the BodyTom Elite, an upgraded version of its...
Sponsored Content | Videos | CT Angiography (CTA) | July 21, 2017
DAIC and ITN Editor Dave Fornell discusses some of the most innovative new computed tomography (CT) technology and tr
ACR Updates Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics Guidance With ASTRO and AAPM
News | Radiation Dose Management | July 19, 2017
July 19, 2017 — The American College of Radiology (ACR) recently collaborated with professional medical societies to
Sponsored Content | Videos | CT Angiography (CTA) | July 19, 2017
Matthew Budoff, M.D., FACC, professor of medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, endowed chair of preventi
Overlay Init