CT lung screening gets Consumer Reports green light

CT lung screening gets Consumer Reports green light

By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

September 25, 2014 — Consumer Reports has included CT lung cancer screening on a list of cancer tests that consumers should receive.

After expressing skepticism about the scans in the past, the consumer research publication included CT lung screening on a list of tests including mammography screening, Pap smears, and colon cancer screening that individuals should receive.

Consumer Reports experts recommended that CT lung cancer scans be used only for heavy smokers 55 to 80 years of age who smoked a pack per day for 30 years or two packs per day for 15 years, and either currently smoke or stopped within the past 15 years.

The recommendation lines up with that of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which recommended the scans in 2013. However, the scans were rejected by a Medicare advisory panel in April, creating the ironic possibility that individuals with private insurance could lose coverage when they begin receiving Medicare at age 65 — precisely the time that lung cancer risk increases.

With respect to breast screening, Consumer Reports also hews to USPSTF’s recommendations that women between the ages of 50 and 74 have mammograms every two years, while women outside this age range should speak with their physicians. The group also advised that while women should know their breast density status, they should also be informed of the limitations of supplemental tests such as ultrasound and MRI.

In addition, the publication’s panel advised in favor of colorectal cancer screening for people 50 to 75 years of age, as well as ultrasound and blood tests for women at high risk of ovarian cancer and cervical cancer tests up to age 65. The group recommended against routine prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests to detect prostate cancer.