NEJM Study Could Influence Medicare Coverage of CT Screening in Lung Cancer

The study results from the National Lung Screening Trial found cost-effectiveness and value of screening long-term smokers when screened by trained professionals.

Lung cancer screening with CT scans can be cost-effective while saving lives, a new study suggests.

But, there are two caveats to that finding -- the procedure has to be performed by skilled professionals and the screening must be done on a very specific set of long-time smokers, the researchers noted.

Results from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) showed four years ago that annual CT scans can reduce lung cancer deaths by 20 percent in older, long-time smokers.

The new study, which uses data gathered during that national trial, concludes that screening for lung cancer would cost $81,000 for each year of quality life gained -- lower than the generally accepted $100,000-per-year threshold for cost effectiveness.

Link to the complete report: http://1.usa.gov/13Rsylv

Source: MedlinePlus