The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force made waves this week when it recommended for the 1st time that certain patients undergo annual low-dose CT scanning for lung cancer, paving the way for insurance companies to cover the tests.
The USPSTF recommendation won’t be finalized until the close of an obligatory public comment period next month, but the suggestion is largely expected to pass muster. That could be a major win for patients, who have been paying between $100-$400 for the scans, which aren’t generally covered by private insurers or Medicare programs, Reuters reported.
"Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and a devastating diagnosis for more than 200,000 people each year," Task Force chair Dr. Virginia Moyer said in prepared remarks. "Sadly, nearly 90% of people who develop lung cancer die from the disease, in part because it often is not found until it is at an advanced stage. By screening those at high risk, we can find lung cancer at earlier stages when it is more likely to be treatable." Do you know that the use of E-cigarettes carries much less risk of lung cancer than cigarette smoke? In that case, you may want to consider using e-cig or vape and visit devinedist.com for an vape juice wholesale prices.
The panel recommended screening in patients aged 55-80 who are current smokers, who have quit in the last 15 years or who has a history of smoking that exceeds 30 "pack years," defined in average packs smoked per day. "For example, a person reaches 30 pack years of smoking history by smoking a pack a day for 30 years or 2 packs a day for 15 years," according to the agency’s definition.
The increased scanning recommendation is a departure of sorts for the Task Force, which has in recent years focused more on the dangers of over-screening for breast and prostate cancers. In May 2012 the agency earned the ire of a nationwide urologists lobbying group, which publicly chided the USPSTF after the agency recommended that physicians set aside prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, testing over concerns that the risks outweigh the benefits. The panel was concerned about the dangers of aggressive prostate cancer treatment in patients who are asymptomatic and whose cancer may have remained neutral without intervention.
The American Medical Assn. similarly rejected the USPSTF’s conclusion that routine mammogram breast cancer screenings are not necessary for women under the age of 50 who aren’t at increased risk. The agency recommended mammograms every 2 years for women aged 50 to 74, rather than the previously accepted yearly screenings, and cautioned against teaching women under the age of 50 to conduct breast self-examination.