Lung Cancer Screening and Awareness Save Lives

This post was contributed by Ella Kazerooni, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology Lung Cancer Screening Committee and ACR Thoracic Imaging Panel.

Ella KazerooniIt’s been more than two years since Medicare’s decision to cover low-dose CT lung cancer screening for older current former heavy smokers. Yet, access to this test hasn’t grown as hoped.

Lung cancer screening can save more lives than any cancer screening test in history. It is important that we continue to educate referring providers and patients about this lifesaving exam.

For our practices, the primary obstacle is Medicare reimbursement. Under HOPPS, Medicare only pays about $60 per scan. Payment under the MPFS is double that amount. This helps. We are working toward sensible reimbursement while we educate.

November’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month  provides the perfect opportunity to raise awareness and increase attention to the benefits of screening.

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  • The ACR Lung Cancer Screening resources page offers a number of materials to help us spread the word and learn how to instill safe and effective lung cancer screening programs in our practices or hospitals
  • I would also invite you to check out the American Lung Association Saved by the Scan campaign. This may be a useful resource for you to link to from your practice website.
  • RadiologyInfo.org is another tremendous resource for patients. The lung cancer screening section explains to patients what lung cancer screening exams are, how to prepare for them, benefits and risks, and more.

We have tools available to us to educate our referring providers and patients about lung cancer screening and how it can help many high-risk patients.

I invite you to use them. There is no better time to start than now.

What are the elements of your successful lung cancer screening program?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and join the discussion on Engage (login required).

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One thought on “Lung Cancer Screening and Awareness Save Lives

  1. At Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, WI we have seen a substantial increase in the number of stage 1 cancers since implementing the low dose CT screening test for lung cancer. The pulmonologists have been very happy with the results.

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