Lung Cancer Screening — Walking, Chewing Gum, Saving Lives

This post was submitted by Eric Stern, MD, diagnostic radiologist in Seattle, Wash.

Am. College of Radiology-AMCLCThe third annual Data Science Bowl (DSB), cosponsored by ACR, recently announced the winning algorithms aimed at improving the accuracy of lung cancer screening (LCS) by reducing false positive exams. More than 18,000 algorithms were entered in this global event, which harnesses data science and crowdsourcing to tackle this deadly disease.

Lung cancer kills more people each year than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined. Low dose CT screening provides a 20 percent mortality reduction.  It remains imperative to screen high risk patients while continuing to improve the accuracy of these lifesaving exams. Cosponsoring the DSB is just one way the College is working to reduce false positives and make these exams even more accurate.

The College offers a tremendous number of LCS resources for providers – including:

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and Medicare have deemed that these exams work and are appropriate for the prescribed population. Referring doctors want this care for their patients who need it.

Despite greater access to these services, the continued challenge is to ensure Medicare and private payers fully cover these exams at a sensible rate so that more imaging facilities can afford to offer them to the appropriate patient populations. The College is continuing to work with Medicare, private payers, and even Congress to secure sensible reimbursement and provide greater access to these lifesaving exams.

We can walk and chew gum at the same time.  We can address lung cancer screening quality and economic issues while we continue to save lives. We can.

  • If your practice/hospital offers LDCT lung cancer screening, are you seeing an increase in the number of patients getting these exams?
  • What feedback are you getting from referring doctors and patients about these exams?

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