Group encourages approval of lung cancer screening for eligible Medicare patients

As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Committee on Coverage studies the decision to cover lung cancer screening for eligible individuals, today's Online First section of the journal CHEST published Components for High Quality Lung Cancer Screening: American College of Chest Physicians and American Thoracic Society Policy Statement. The effort, led by lung cancer experts from the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) (Gerard Silvestri, MD, FCCP; Peter Mazzone, MD, FCCP; and Frank Detterbeck, MD, FCCP) in collaboration with the American Thoracic Society, American Cancer Society, and the American Society of Preventive Oncology, aims to provide a framework to help establish safe and effective lung cancer screening programs.

"CMS and the MEDCAC group are concerned that the results from the National Lung Screening Trial took place in centers of excellence and academic teaching hospitals, and the balance of harms and benefits will be different in community practice. Our policy statement articulates what was special about these institutions and provides a roadmap for bringing best practices to patients at risk," said Gerard Silvestri, MD, FCCP, President-Designate of CHEST and statement author. "We're very eager to see the benefits of this important technology brought in a thoughtful way to people at risk throughout the United States."

The policy statement published in the Online First section of CHEST outlines nine components required for a safe and effective lung cancer screening program. Components include identification of the population to screen, screening frequency and duration, technical specifications of the CT scan, nodule identification, structured reporting, nodule management algorithms, smoking cessation, patient and provider education, and data collection.

"Our team of lung cancer experts presented this policy statement to the CMS. We feel this statement provides a framework that can be used to develop high-quality screening programs, helping to ensure that the benefit of lung cancer screening will outweigh the potential harms for those eligible, including the Medicare population," added Peter Mazzone, MD, FCCP, statement author.

CMS is scheduled to announce a decision on lung cancer screening for the recommended patient population on November 10, 2014.

Source: American College of Chest Physicians


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