CT lung cancer screening to start in US Veterans

Lung group says VA to start CT lung cancer screening By AuntMinnie.com staff writers August 13, 2012 — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will move to begin lung cancer screening in high-risk individuals at its U.S. facilities, according to screening advocacy group Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA). VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel communicated to Laurie Fenton Ambrose, LCA’s president and CEO, that the VA would move to initiate lung cancer screening at its facilities, according to a statement from LCA. The VA did not immediately respond to requests for comment. LCA has been pushing the VA to adopt its National Framework for Excellence in Lung Cancer Screening and Continuum of Care program, which LCA launched in February to help ensure that lung cancer screening is implemented responsibly, safely, and cost-effectively. To date, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has not issued a broad coverage decision for CT lung cancer screening, but several healthcare payors are offering coverage in anticipation of eventual approval. More than 150 medical centers across the U.S. have committed to the LCA program, according to the organization. The VA stated that it will also follow established best practices to ensure minimal risk and maximal benefit from CT lung screening. The LCA and another proscreening group, the Access to Medical Imaging Coalition, on August 13 lauded LCA’s efforts to encourage screening of high-risk patients at the VA. In 2010, the U.S. National Cancer Institute terminated the National Lung Screening Trial after it showed that CT screening of those at high risk for lung cancer could dramatically reduce lung cancer deaths. No timeline was given for implementation, but in its statement LCA said the “wheels are in motion” at the VA to move quickly on implementing screening in its U.S. healthcare centers.