Medicare Covers CT Screening for Lung Cancer
Lung cancer affects hundreds of thousands of people every year with over 150,000 people anticipated to die of the disease this year alone. In fact, lung cancer is currently the leading cause of cancer related death in both men and women in the U.S. So it’s not surprising that research dollars continue to be so aggressively spent on finding new and better ways of detecting, diagnosing, and ultimately effectively treating lung cancer.
One of the most effective methods of diagnosing lung cancer is the computed tomography (CT) scan which can establish the existence of a tumor as well as its shape, size and position. In many cases a CT scan is performed in response to concerning symptoms that the patient may be experiencing or as a follow-up to preliminary tests. But screening for any potential issues – even when symptoms may not be present – is the key to catching disease early enough for treatment to be most effective and, as a result, is the key to saving lives.
Medicare has recently made a commitment to screening for lung cancer by making the decision to cover CT lung cancer screening for seniors who are considered high risk for developing the disease. This is a significant piece of news in the world of cancer care because it provides patients, who may not otherwise have the financial means to cover such screening, access to potentially lifesaving tests.
CT lung cancer screening is covered by Medicare for patients who:
» Are 55-77 years old.
» Currently smoke and have a smoking history of 30 packs a year.
» Have quit smoking within the last 15 years but have a smoking history of 30 packs a year.
Because certain criteria must be met for Medicare to cover these screenings, it is required that providers submit data gathered through scans and follow-up to an approved registry that acts as a clearinghouse of all information and helps providers to stay compliant. The American College of Radiology (ACR) Lung Cancer Screening Registry works in that regard so patients who wish to be screened through medicare coverage are encouraged to visit ACR accredited facilities.
At PET/CT of Las Colinas, we are proud to be an ACR accredited facility and we work with patients to provide them with the highest quality of care.