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Should lung cancer screening be covered for Medicare beneficiaries?

Date:
September 8, 2014
Source:
American College of Physicians
Summary:
Researchers analyzed evidence on the benefits and harms of lung cancer screening by age in a recent study. The author of an accompanying editorial concludes from the analysis that Medicare beneficiaries should not be excluded from screening. Clinicians should share with their patients the age-specific estimates of screening benefits and harms to help make an informed decision.
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Researchers for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) analyze evidence on the benefits and harms of lung cancer screening by age in a study being published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Smoking is the most important risk factor for developing lung cancer. The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) reported a reduction in lung cancer mortality in high-risk participants aged 55 to 74 who were randomly assigned to screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) versus chest radiography. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) subsequently recommended annual lung cancer screening with LDCT for persons aged 55 to 80 who had ever smoked.

Next to smoking, age is the most important risk factor for lung cancer. To inform its recommendation for the Medicare population, CMS researchers conducted a secondary analysis of the NLST data to compare screening outcomes among Medicare-eligible persons with those under the age of 65. They found that both cancer prevalence and positive predictive value of lung cancer screening with LDCT were higher in the 65+ cohort than in the under-65 cohort.

The older group also had a slightly higher rate of false-positive screening results. The author of an accompanying editorial concludes from the analysis that Medicare beneficiaries should not be excluded from screening. Clinicians should share with their patients the age-specific estimates of screening benefits and harms to help make an informed decision.


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Materials provided by American College of Physicians. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal References:

  1. Paul F. Pinsky, David S. Gierada, William Hocking, Edward F. Patz Jr., Barnett S. Kramer. National Lung Screening Trial Findings by Age: Medicare-Eligible Versus Under-65 Population. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.7326/M14-1484
  2. Michael K. Gould. Lung Cancer Screening and Elderly Adults: Do We Have Sufficient Evidence? Annals of Internal Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.7326/M14-2006

Cite This Page:

American College of Physicians. "Should lung cancer screening be covered for Medicare beneficiaries?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140908204700.htm>.
American College of Physicians. (2014, September 8). Should lung cancer screening be covered for Medicare beneficiaries?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140908204700.htm
American College of Physicians. "Should lung cancer screening be covered for Medicare beneficiaries?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140908204700.htm (accessed February 26, 2024).

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