ASTRO welcomes Medicare CT lung cancer screening

ASTRO welcomes Medicare CT lung cancer screening

By staff writers

November 14, 2014 — The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) on Friday praised the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for its draft decision in favor of screening seniors at high risk for lung cancer with low-dose CT.

The CMS proposal confirms there is sufficient evidence to warrant screening in asymptomatic individuals 55 to 74 years old who have smoked at least 30 pack-years, or quit smoking in the past 15 years. CMS is accepting public comments on the proposed draft decision until December 10.

ASTRO said it is pleased that CMS decided in favor of screening, potentially reducing seniors’ lung cancer mortality by almost 20%. Data indicate that nearly 60% of lung cancer diagnoses are among those who have never smoked or already quit, the organization added.

With a highly effective screening technique in place, patients will be diagnosed earlier when treatment can be most successful, which will save thousands of lives, ASTRO said.