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September 24, 2014

Should CMS Cover Lung Cancer Screening for the Fully Informed Patient?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Health Services Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
  • 2Division of Cancer Prevention & Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
JAMA. 2014;312(12):1193-1194. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.12709

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death1 and an estimated 12 000 lung cancer deaths could potentially be averted each year in the United States through early detection with low-dose computed tomography (CT).2 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is currently considering national coverage of lung cancer screening with low-dose CT for individuals at high risk of developing lung cancer based on their age and smoking history.3 The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently updated its recommendation about screening for lung cancer to recommend annual screening with low-dose CT for adults aged 55 through 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years (B recommendation, update published December 31, 2013).4 In making its recommendation, the USPSTF weighed many factors, including the estimated 16% mortality reduction associated with screening and surgical resection5 and the high false-positive rate associated with screening.4